By: Teresa Mull
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is reportedly in the process of drafting a red flag gun confiscation bill at the federal level.
Graham told BuzzFeed News on Thursday his bill will provide grants to states that pass extreme risk protection orders, or ERPOs. Also known as “red flag laws,” they allow judges to authorize police to temporarily seize a person’s guns, with no advance notice, if there are grounds to believe the person may commit a violent act.
“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.
“The benefits are enormous. If you just stop one, that’s enormous. And there has to be due process, we all get that,” Graham said last week at the end of a Judiciary Committee meeting studying red flag laws.
Democrats widely welcomed ERPO legislation, while also saying more reforms are needed.
Graham, it should be noted, accepted funding from rabid anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg in 2014.
The Post and Courier reported at the time:
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $250,000 contribution to a super PAC that supports U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s re-election is tied to Graham’s strong support for Israel and his record of results in Washington, the PAC’s controller said.
But Bloomberg is also an outspoken advocate of gun control, which could come back to haunt Graham in a state filled with voters seen as pro-Second Amendment.
Gunpowder Magazine has reported repeatedly on “Extreme Risk Prevention Orders” (ERPOs), otherwise known as “red flag” gun confiscation laws, which are pitched as a way to get guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.
Under these laws, innocent, law-abiding gun owners can have their guns seized by police acting on the basis of a tip. There is no due process, and gun owners, left defenseless when their guns are confiscated, are forced to prove themselves innocent after the fact. In Maryland last year, a man was shot and killed on his own doorstep when cops showed up to take his weapons.
"Red flag laws are a blatant, terrifying violation of gun owners’ Constitutional rights, and once they’re enacted at the federal level, there’s no telling what other Orwellian practices the government will start enforcing," Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights, told Gunpowder Magazine.
"These laws make it legal for cops to use a mere tip as an excuse to storm your home, day or night, without warning, and seize the private weapons you rely on to defend yourself, your property, and your loved ones," Brown said. "Gun owners must make it known that they will not sit idly by and watch such un-American proposals become the law of the land."
Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee and who co-sponsored a red flag bill with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) last year, told CNN:
"Most of these cases have something in common, not all but most: a very disturbed person that people have interacted with before. The Parkland shooting is Exhibit A, the guy did everything except take an ad out in the paper. The FBI got called, local cops got called and nobody did anything. Florida passed red flag law. So what we’re going to do is get people from the country, Arizona has one now and see how they work and see if we can incentivize states to pass legislation to allow police to intervene with family members or police officers are becoming a danger to self or others."
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.