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WATCH: Senate holds rare ‘red flag’ gun confiscation hearing

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, left, listens as then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on the Defense Department's proposed fiscal year 2017 budget before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2016. (Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/Department of Defense)
March 26, 2019
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The Senate is holding hearings today to discuss extreme risk protection orders also known as “red flag” laws that would permit the legal confiscation of guns.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham is taking charge in the measure, which would seek to permit courts to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals deemed dangerous based on reports from family members or law enforcement, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

“Nobody’s going to just come take your guns,” Graham said at the hearing on Tuesday. “But at the same time, every right has limits.”

Watch the live hearing here:

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“We’re trying to balance the right to own a gun under the Second Amendment with mental health issues,” Graham said. “I think passing a federal law is more than the market can bear.”

Graham suggested that Congress establish incentives for states who implement red flag laws on their own.

However, Graham has met staunch opposition from gun owner groups and advocates for what they say is a law that would enable unconstitutional confiscation.

NRA spokesman Lars Dalseide said red flag laws “don’t protect the due process of rights or ensure the mentally ill receive the care they need.”

“There’s nobody who wants dangerous people to have access to firearms,” Dalseide noted.

Graham introduced the bill last year alongside Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is crafting a new version of the bill.

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“I’m very encouraged that he has decided to have a hearing on gun violence prevention, specifically the red-flags statute,” Blumenthal said.

Last year’s version of the bill authorized courts to issue a temporary order of up to 14 days after establishing probable cause that an individual was at risk of endangering himself or others. The bill would then mandate a hearing in the first 72 hours after the order, during which an individual would plead his case. The court could go further and ban the individual from purchasing or possessing a gun for up to six months.

With the confirmation of Attorney General Bill Barr earlier this year, the Department of Justice would approve of enforcing a red flag law.

“This is the single most important thing I think we can do in the gun control area to stop these massacres from happening in the first place,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January.

At least 14 states have passed red flag laws since the Parkland, Fla. high school shooting in Feb. 2018.

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