ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham is working with both Democrats and Republicans on a federal grant program that would enhance “red flag” gun laws at the state level to curb gun violence.
While attending a Memorial Day event in South Carolina’s Upstate on Monday, Graham said he thinks there is enough bipartisan support to increase security for schools.
“We spend a lot of money for security around public buildings, courthouses, banks,” Graham said. “We should do the same for schools.”
One effort he and other lawmakers are pursuing is support for states who implement Red Flag gun laws by providing them with additional money for officers and mental health workers.
“There are people out there who are mentally disturbed that will take their own lives or maybe kill other people. We need a system to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable, with due process,” Graham said.
What is a red flag law? It is a form of gun control law that enables law enforcement, or family members, to petition a state court to order the removal of firearms from an individual who may present a danger to the community or themselves.
A judge would make their decision to issue the order based on statements or actions made by the gun owner.
“Keep them (guns) out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them to begin with because they are mentally unstable. There are a lot of states that have red flag laws. I would support a grant program to help states that choose to go down that road,” he said.
Graham, though, said he would not support a federal red flag law. “It should be done at the state level. But states that have these laws in place, maybe there are some things we can do in Washington to help them with resources to keep things like this from happening,” he said.
As of 2021, 19 states have red flag gun laws, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
“The Parkland school shooting, that Cruz guy, he did everything but take an ad out in the newspaper he was going to kill people. So, when you see people about to blow, give the cops – with plenty of due process – the chance to go stop it before it stops,” Graham said. “That makes perfect sense to me.”
Graham went on to say, “I own guns. But I’m not threatening anybody with my gun. I don’t go on the internet threatening people. If you do those things, then cops need to show up at your house and take your guns away from you, if you’re threatening to kill people.”
Democrats, for years, have pushed measures like universal background checks and renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but the measures have been blocked in the narrowly divided Senate.
With pressure growing on lawmakers to respond to the recent back-to-back mass shootings, in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, GOP senators are pointing to other bills like the red flag law to try and stop the senseless killings.
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A group of 10 senators, including Graham, hope to discuss implementing red flag laws at the state level in June.