By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Friday appeared to dismiss the notion that he would support a new ban on semi-automatic rifles many characterize as “assault weapons” in response to questions by reporters following last week’s multiple mass shootings.
“Here’s a scenario that I think is real: There’s a hurricane, a natural disaster, no power, no cops, no anything,” the Republican lawmaker told reporters aboard Air Force One.
One reporter asked if he meant looters, the New York Post noted.
“Yeah, people, they’re not going to come to the AR-15 home,” Graham responded. “Well, I think if you show up on the porch with an AR-15, they’ll probably go down the street.”
The South Carolina Republican also blunted questions about the legality of certain classes of semi-automatic rifles that were banned for 10 years beginning in 1994, comparing it to being free to choose which books to read or movies to watch.
“Why do you need to read what you read, and why do you need to watch the movie that you watch, and play the video games you watch,” Graham said. “I can’t limit — your rights can’t be limited because I don’t understand why you want to do something.”
While Graham does not appear to endorse a new ban on military-look-alike weapons, he has backed federal “red flag” legislation he says he crafted with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). That bill would provide financial incentives to states to pass laws that would empower courts to order police to confiscate firearms from people believed to be a threat to themselves or others.
Critics, including the NRA, have said such laws violate multiple constitutional amendments including the Second Amendment’s ‘infringement’ clause and due process rights listed in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
During in interview with NewsMax TV this week, Dr. John Lott, author of “More Guns, Less Crime” and president of the Crime Research Center, said universal background checks — another popular idea among lawmakers — would do nothing to stop mass shootings and would even prevent innocent people from being able to obtain a firearm for self-defense.
“I understand they want to do something to stop these mass shootings,” Lott said. “I just wish they would do something that was in someway related to these mass public shootings.”
He noted that nine 2020 Democratic presidential candidates appeared this week on a gun forum town hall sponsored by CNN to discuss the shootings, and all of them supported background checks for private gun transactions, the purpose behind a universal background check bill.
“I wish [the media] would go and say, ‘Well, okay, can you point to one mass shooting this century that would have been stopped, even assuming that it was perfectly enforced, that would have stopped it.’ And they can’t” point to a single one, Lott said.
As for red flag laws, which empower police to confiscate firearms from people deemed by a court to be a threat, “have virtually nothing to do with mental health,” Lott said.
“There are 17 states that have this law now, and only one of them mentions the term ‘mental health’ in it,” he added. “The basic notion is [authorities] try to predict whether somebody will commit a crime or harm themselves.”
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