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Sen. Lindsey Graham is drafting ‘red flag’ gun confiscation bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) testifies before the Senate Committee on Finance on Sept. 25, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Key Senate Republicans are urging President Donald Trump to work with Democrats to end spending bills before the new fiscal year begins. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)
April 17, 2019

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is working on a “red flag” gun bill that will incentivize states to implement their own red flag laws.

Graham told Buzzfeed News on April 4 that he would begin drafting the bill the following week, which will design exclusive grants to those states who pass extreme risk protection “red flag” gun laws.

“I’m seeking to incentivize states to produce extreme risk protective order legislation that has ample due process but also is meaningful in protecting the public from somebody who is dangerous,” said Graham.

Graham introduced a similar bill last year alongside Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is reportedly crafting his own new version of the bill. Graham is aiming for bipartisan support with this bill, too.

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.

“The Second Amendment’s important to me, but it’s not a suicide pact,” Graham told McClatchy Washington Bureau.

“We’re trying to balance the right to own a gun under the Second Amendment with mental health issues,” Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on red flag laws last month. “I think passing a federal law is more than the market can bear.”

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

Graham argued that red flag laws provide “enormous” benefits while ensuring due process.

Shortly after the Feb. 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school, President Trump voiced his support of red flag laws, calling on states to implement their own in light of the tragedy.

“Take the guns first, go through due process second,” President Trump said. “I like taking the guns early.”

Red flag laws have gained momentum since then, with at least 14 states passing their own laws.

While Democrats are supportive of Graham’s efforts, he has drawn the ire of gun rights group who say Graham is wrong on gun policy.

“He might use his newfound connection to the president as a way to define himself, but that doesn’t hold any water with us,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, told McClatchy. “We don’t care if (Vice President) Mike Pence comes and does a fundraiser for him. On gun policy, Lindsey Graham is way to the left of his Republican constituents.”