Senators introduce bipartisan bill that would ‘red flag’ gun sales to people deemed a risk

Lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation on Thursday that seeks to block firearms purchases by those who are deemed a risk to themselves or others.

In the wake of the mass shooting in the Parkland, Fla. high school that left 17 people dead, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Connecticut’s Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal offered a bill, known as the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Act, The Hill reported.

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Graham hoped to start a “national conversation” with the legislation which would allow law enforcement or family members to request a court order blocking the sale of a gun to someone who is believed to pose a risk.

“Senator Blumenthal and I disagree on many issues regarding the Second Amendment, but we strongly agree restricting access to firearms by those who pose an imminent danger to themselves or others is a strong step forward,” Graham said in a statement.

The bill would help create a “red flag” according to Blumenthal.

“We know these laws work,” he said at a joint press conference with Graham.

The legislation calls for ensuring that the person blocked from making the purchase would get a court hearing within 72 hours of the order, which would last up to two weeks.

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Florida lawmakers, Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson as well as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation that would give states an incentive in passing “red flag” laws, though Rubio was not sure the bill could secure the 60 votes needed in the Senate.

Similar “red flag” bills have been introduced in five states already with another dozen considering the legislation.

The proposed Federal Extreme Risk Protection Act also calls for penalties for anyone who falsely accuses an individual in an attempt to have their guns taken away, CNN reported.

“This is not about losing your gun rights — easily,” Graham said, according to CNN. “This is about intervening at a time when it matters. I’m not worried about this law affecting me as an AR-15 owner at all.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee, on which the senators both sit, is scheduled to hold a hearing next week on gun violence and the shooting in Florida.

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Frieda Powers


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