When Democrats passed a slate of new gun bills in the House last month, there seemed to be little cause for concern. After all, we could rest comfortably knowing that none of these bills would ever see the light of day on the Senate floor. This was the Democratic majority in the House pandering to their base and setting up 2020 arguments where they can call Republicans out for being “bought” by the National Rifle Association. If it served any legitimate purpose at all, it was to remind the rest of sane-thinking Americans what these Democrats plan to do if they ever find themselves with real power in Washington again.
But then we listened to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on CNN…and started to get a little bit nervous.
He told the network that his Senate Judiciary Committee would be holding hearings on Extreme Risk Protection Orders later this month. These orders, also known as “red flag laws,” allow police and courts to take weapons from individuals deemed a threat for whatever reason. Critics say these laws risk violating the principle of due process, if not the Second Amendment entirely. But Graham thinks that Republicans and Democrats can pass legislation in a bipartisan fashion.
“I haven’t really looked at the House package, but this is to me the area where we can come together. We did a lot on NICS Fix,” Graham said. “I think there’s a lot of common ground on enrolling people in the background system who are a danger to themselves or others.”
Sensible protectors of the Second Amendment can talk reasonably about these red-flag laws, but it makes us uncomfortable any time we see a Republican mulling over a compromise with the Democrats on gun control. It’s one thing to consider options like this when Republicans have full control of the government; it’s quite another with a Democrat-controlled House and only a slim majority in the Senate. This is no time to be talking about “bipartisan” gun measures. Especially when there are very significant constitutional concerns about the measures in question.
“Most of these cases have something in common, not all but most: a very disturbed person that people have interacted with before,” Graham said. “The Parkland shooting is Exhibit A, the guy did everything except take an ad out in the paper. The FBI got called, local cops got called and nobody did anything. Florida passed red flag law. So what we’re going to do is get people from the country, Arizona has one now and see how they work and see if we can incentivize states to pass legislation to allow police to intervene with family members or police officers are becoming a danger to self or others. We’re trying to drive states to create these laws with certain guidelines to make sure they actually work but to let the states deal with this issue but to incentivize them to do so.”
Well, if this proves anything, it’s that we can’t sit back and count on Republicans to reflexively stand up against the gun grabbers on the left. When it comes to the Second Amendment, we have to be ever-vigilant. Compromising with our own disarmament is a very unwise path to tread.