Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN on Wednesday that the Committee plans to hold a hearing on Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) – commonly referred to as "red flag laws" – on March 26th.
The move is a rather big ordeal, considering the House has passed multiple gun control laws, including H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Check Act of 2019, and H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019.
"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 told CNN. "I think there's a lot of common ground on enrolling people in the background system who are a danger to themselves or others."
Gun rights advocates have kept an eye on red flag laws, especially at the state level. These laws make it easier for police, doctors, teachers and family members to petition judges to take away a person's guns if they feel he or she is a threat to themselves or others.
"Most of these cases have something in common, not all but most: a very disturbed person that people have interacted with before," Graham told CNN. "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."
The main reason Second Amendment supporters are against these laws is because the lack of due process.
Here's just one example:
Say a woman dates a man. He's a gun enthusiast who enjoys going to the gun range and taking part in the shooting sports, like trap and skeet. It's something he does on the weekend with friends and as a social activity. The woman knows this about her now ex-boyfriend. She wants to get back at him so she reports him to the police, saying she fears for her life. Based on that accusation alone, police can go to a judge, at which point the judge can order the police to confiscate the man's firearms. He has no say in it. And no chance to defend himself.
Red flag laws are the perfect "gotcha!" move, especially in bad breaks up or ways at getting back at someone.
For months, I've heard gun owners say the House's gun control bills will die in the Senate because Republicans will vote the measures down and if the Senate Republicans fail to kill the bill, Trump will veto the legislation.
Here's the thing: we shouldn't be banking on anyone to protect our God-given rights. We need to continually fight for them. We can't sit back, be apathetic and trust politicians to do right by us. We need to continually place pressure on them so they know we're watching how they're voting and if their votes represent us. We need to make calls, write letters and most importantly vote for those who preserve our rights, not restrict them.
We can't shrug our shoulders if Senate Republicans decide red flag are acceptable just because Trump promised to veto H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, the pair of background check bills that passed the House. We can't assume that Trump would veto any gun control bills because he led the charge on making bump stocks illegal. And Trump – as well as various Senate Republicans like Graham, Rubio and Scott – have signaled support for red flag laws. It's a gamble and one I'm not willing to bet on. And neither should you.