Sen. Graham shares why he has an AR-15 and why Americans might need one

Speaking on Sunday morning with Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for gun legislation “that makes sense” but claimed that the confiscation of any sort of firearms — whether they be a handgun or an AR-15 — isn’t included in that call.

We will not take people’s guns away from them,” he said. “I own an AR-15. I lawfully own a gun. If you took my gun away, the bad guys are not going to give up their guns.

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Source: Fox Business Network

The type of legislation that would make sense, he continued, would be red flag laws, improved background checks, etc.

“We want to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who are hateful or mentally ill,” he said. “The red flag legislation, grants to states that have these red-state laws, the president’s focused on that. Working with Sen. [Joe] Manchin, we can maybe enhance background checks.”

In the case of the El Paso shooter, Graham noted he’d been on a white supremacist hate site — one that the senator believes should have been shut down. The Dayton shooter had likewise been kicked out of school for having a rape/kill list. But because of how the background checks system currently functions, neither killer was ever flagged.

“So we’re looking at protective order legislation, red flag legislation, grant programs to help states hire mental health professionals for the cops to evaluate what cases go to court,” he continued. “Plenty of due process, and do something on background checks. I hope the president is going to lead us to a solution this time.”

Though these ideas may sound sensible, they’ve nevertheless received criticism from some because of the potential abuse. In a column posted two weeks ago, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin noted that red flag laws are already employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs — and that the consequences of their use have been disastrous.

She specifically wrote of veterans being flagged for “difficult,” “annoying” and “noncompliant behavior.” In some cases, veterans were even allegedly flagged for exercising their First Amendment rights and saying something allegedly offensive.

When questioned by Bartiromo about these concerns, Graham promised that the red flag laws he’s proposed would contain plenty of due process.

Plus, he claimed, he has no interest in targeting people over their offensive opinions but rather over their demonstrably troubling behavior. As an example, he cited the Parkland shooter, who was visited by local officers almost 40 times — yet was still allowed to purchase a weapon.

The discussion then pivoted back to Graham’s own use of firearms.

I have an Ar-15,” he said. “I was a reservist in Afghanistan. Some guys in the unit bought an AR-15 and we put the seal of the unit on it as a piece of memorabilia for me. I shoot it on occasion. Sometimes you may find yourself alone where there are no cops that can get to you because of a natural disaster. You may need an AR-15, believe it or not, if a mob shows up at your house.”

The senator continued, “But taking my gun away from me is not going to solve the problem. We want to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Mental health issues are where we should be focusing our effort. And the guy in Philadelphia — how the hell did he get a gun after all these convictions? That’s why we need to look at the background checks system.”

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During a standoff with police officers last week in Philadelphia, a longtime local criminal fired over 100 shots with an AR-15 and injured at least six officers during the process.

Given his extensive criminal record, which includes numerous convictions involving the illegal possession of guns, some have suggested that more gun control is needed.

“Our officers deserve to be protected and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets. It’s disgusting and we have to do something about it,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told reporters after the altercation last week.

“Our officers need help,” the Democrat mayor added. “They need help with gun control. They need help with keeping these weapons out of people’s hands.”

But since it appears the shooter obtained his weapons illegally, it’s not clear how any form of gun control — including the slew of laws proposed by Graham — would have made any difference.

Though the senator’s interview with Bartiromo aired only hours ago, it’s already attracted heavy criticism on social media from those concerned that the laws he’s proposing would be abused by Democrats and from those similarly troubled by his call for “hate sites” to be shut down:

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