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Sen. Graham says he owns AR-15 for home defense: ‘Last one gang will come to’

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaking with attendees at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
March 29, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Sunday that he needs his AR-15 for home defense, including use against possible “gangs,” reiterating his opposition to Democrats’ gun control legislation.

“I own an AR-15,” Graham told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “If there’s a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last one that the gang will come to, because I can defend myself.”

Graham’s comments come just days after a gunman in Boulder, Colo., killed 10 people in a grocery store. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, used a Ruger AR-556 pistol in the attack – a firearm that he purchased legally after passing a background check at a local gun store six days before the shooting, The Associated Press reported.

“Most of these problems have a lot to do with mental health. Count me in for addressing that issue,” Graham told Wallace. “Red-flag laws exist in 19 states. There’s some things we can do.”

Following the shooting, President Joe Biden again called for a ban on “assault-style” weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour to take common sense steps that will save the lives in the future,” Biden said at the White House.

Graham has long opposed the last assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, calling it a “violation of the constitutional rights of responsible Americans.”

“I own an AR-15. I’ve got it at my house. The question is, if you deny me the right to buy another one, have you made America safer?” Graham said during an interview in 2012. “I don’t suggest you take my right to buy an AR-15 away from me because I don’t think it will work and I do believe better security in schools is a good place to start.”

Earlier this month, the House passed two anti-gun bills: the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8) that would criminalize private gun sales conducted without a background check, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1446) which would allow the FBI to put a hold on transferring a firearm for a minimum of 10 days and up to 30 days, rather than the three days currently allowed by law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was committed to bringing the bills to the Senate floor. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made bipartisan agreement seem unlikely, telling reporters, “There have been deep-seated philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats about how to deal with gun violence.”