Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) may be willing to start the push for gun control legislation on the Republican side of the aisle.
In a jaw-dropping quote to CNN’s Betsy Kline, Sen. Graham said he was willing to come to the table to discuss any and all proposed changes to current gun laws, including a ban on bump stocks (the device used by the Las Vegas shooter which make semi-automatic weapons fire more rapidly), assault weapons, restricting gun purchases for people with a history of mental illness, and other proposals.
Republican Sen. Graham: “Let's talk about bump stocks, let's talk about assault weapons bans, let's talk about terrorist watch lists, you can't buy a gun, bring it all on…let's take the time to have a debate about guns, mental health, the entire package” (via @betsy_klein) pic.twitter.com/qjgiYin9LA
— Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) February 15, 2018
Graham’s willingness to talk about gun control will likely upset the National Rifle Association, which has previously given Graham an “A” rating based on his anti-gun control voting record and donated at least $47,000 to Graham’s campaigns over the course of his career.
Graham’s new openness on the issue is a drastic reversal for the senator, who has in recent years voted against a ban on assault weapons, limiting how many rounds can go into a magazine, and the expansion of background checks. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which killed 20 children and 6 faculty members, Graham defended citizen’s rights to own high ammo capacity weaponry:
“One bullet in the hands of a homicidal maniac is one too many. But in the case of a young mother defending her children against a home invader — a real-life event which recently occurred near Atlanta — six bullets may not be enough. Criminals aren’t going to follow legislation limiting magazine capacity. However, a limit could put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage when confronting a criminal. As for reinstating the assault weapons ban, it has already been tried and failed.”
Graham’s changed rhetoric on gun control comes after a 19-year-old shooter gunned down 17 students and faculty members at a South Florida high school with an AR-15 assault rifle that he purchased legally at a local gun store. Yesterday’s killings are just the latest in a seemingly never-ending pattern of gun violence in American schools, fitting into a larger epidemic of gun violence that continues to terrorize the country in staggering numbers compared to the rest of the world.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: As of February 14, 2018, Grit Post is no longer publishing the names of mass shooters, and we discourage other media outlets from doing so in order to avoid contributing to future mass shootings by making killers famous.)
Nathan Wellman is a journalist from Los Angeles who has written for US Uncut and Grit Post. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW