In the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend, Senator Lindsey Graham announced his intention Monday to introduce bipartisan “red flag” legislation designed to help law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
The South Carolina Republican said he and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) plan to introduce a bipartisan bill establishing a federal grant program that would encourage states to institute “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” laws.
“These grants will be given to law enforcement so they can hire and consult with mental health professionals to better determine which cases need to be acted upon,” Graham said in a statement. “This grant program also requires robust due process and judicial review. It does allow for quick action.”
“Red Flag laws generally work by a family or household member or law enforcement officer petitioning a court to temporarily restrict an individual’s ability to buy or access firearms,” Graham said in a congressional hearing on the matter in March. “The burden of proof is placed on law enforcement to prove the person in question has become an imminent danger and there is a Due Process right for the individual to challenge the determination.”
A 21-year-old gunman opened fire on Saturday in an El Paso, Texas shopping center, killing 20 people and injuring 26 others. Less than 24 hours later, another young male shooter used an assault-style rifle to kill nine people, including his sister, and injure 27 more in a Dayton, Ohio entertainment district.
The El Paso shooter had posted statements online before the shooting expressing his hatred for immigrants and Hispanic people, who comprise the majority of the Texas border town’s population.
“Time to enact common-sense legislation in Congress to empower states to deal with those who present a danger to themselves and others — while respecting robust due process,” Graham wrote Saturday on Twitter in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting.
Graham added that he has discussed his proposal with President Trump, who “seems very supportive.”
During his remarks addressing the shootings Monday, Trump called on Congress to pass such legislation “in a bipartisan manner.”