Graham Says Trump Is Determined to Do 'Two Things' on Guns

By Susan Jones | August 14, 2019 | 10:54am EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) supports so-called "red flag" laws. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

( - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was with President Trump over the weekend, and he said he thinks Trump is determined to act on some type of gun control:

"But I've never seen the president this determined, quite frankly," Graham told Fox News's Martha McCallum on Tuesday night.

"I think he's determined to do two things -- to make sure that people who are suffering mental health problems, who are dangerous to themselves and others, that we act before they use the gun; and that we enhance background checks in a way that makes common sense.

"I think there's bipartisan support for this. My question is, will the Democrats be willing to work with the president or will they keep moving the goal posts? I don't know."

Graham has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to create a federal grant program that would allow local police officers to hire mental health professionals to advise them on what cases they would take to a judge in an effort to confiscate guns before an individual misuses them.

The senator argued that his proposal does not violate due process, as critics say it does:

"There are plenty of judicial proceedings every day in America where somebody's adjudged to be a danger to themselves and others, and they're put in a mental facility. That goes on all the time. So that process would apply to gun ownership," Graham explained.

"Nobody's going to lose their gun unless they have their day in court, but we're not going to create a situation where the cops sit on the sidelines and watch somebody blow up when there are plenty of warning signs. The Second Amendment is not a suicide pact. So we have judicial hearings all over America every day dealing with people who become a danger to themselves and others, and this is just an extension of that concept."

McCallum chimed in: "They go to your house, they knock at the door, they say, you know, we're going to search and see if you have any guns here? In a practical matter, how does it work?" she asked.

"You got to get an order from the judge first,," Graham said. "You can't go to the guy's house until the judge says there's an immediate threat. You have to convince a judge there's an imminent threat of bodily harm before you can act. Then within seven days, you have a full-blown hearing where you have to prove by clear and convincing evidence the person is a danger to themselves or others. We have hearings all over America, with people being a danger to themselves and others, to get them help."

Graham noted that 17 or 18 states have passed these so-called "red flag" laws or "extreme risk protection orders."

"And here's the question, do we have to sit on the sideline and watch people be slaughtered when we know this person is about to blow?" Graham asked.

Critics, including the National Rifle Association, oppose depriving Americans of their constitutional rights when they have not been arrested, convicted or even charged with a crime; and then forcing those individuals to prove their innocence at a court hearing after their property has been seized.

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