South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham predicts most of the Senate will vote to “reject” a so-called “assault weapons” ban after President Joe Biden and other Democratic lawmakers pushed for reform following the deadly Boulder, Colorado, shooting.
“If there were a vote tomorrow to ban ‘assault weapons’ — I’ll make a prediction — a majority of the Senate would reject that vote,” Graham told the Washington Examiner in an interview on Wednesday. “There are Democrats living in red states that cannot vote for an ‘assault weapons’ ban, but every time there’s a tragic shooting in this country, the Left uses it as a reason to grab a gun [from a] lawful gun owner.”
The South Carolina Republican, who said he owns an AR-15 himself, insisted his GOP colleagues would not “give ground” on a potential prohibition of certain types of firearms.
“Republicans are not going to give ground on the idea of banning the ‘assault weapon,'” he continued. “The weapon is not the problem, it’s the mental health issues around people who use the weapon.”
Biden urged Congress to move forward with stringent gun regulations after a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers store Monday afternoon, killing 10 people. The shooting suspect, Ahmad al Aliwi Alissa, 21, was apprehended and placed into custody. He has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, and he took a bullet to the leg before his arrest.
The administration has also floated the possibility of using executive orders to issue new gun laws, although Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to change her tone when she put the onus on Congress to put forth a bill.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take commonsense steps or save the lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said in an address Tuesday at the White House. “We can ban ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity’ magazines in this country once again.”
The House is narrowly controlled by Democrats, and the Senate is split 50-50, which allows Harris to be a tiebreaker.
Graham said he owns an AR-15, which features an insignia from his Air Force Reserve unit, because he has the “right” to keep it in his home.
“I want to vote on an ‘assault weapons’ ban,” he said. “I own an AR-15 — now, why do I own it? Because I have the right to own it, and I chose to own it. The AR-15 I own has a medallion on it with my reserve unit, so it means a lot to me, but if there’s a breakdown of law and order [or] a natural disaster and the gangs are roaming through a neighborhood, what house do they go to the last?”
“The one without a gun, the one with a double-barrel shotgun, or the one with the AR-15?” he asked.
While on the campaign trail, Biden advocated for a full-scale ban on the rifles in question, in addition to a prohibition on “high-capacity” magazines, which usually refers to ammunition-feeding devices capable of holding more than 10 cartridges. The president has also advocated for enhanced red flag laws, which allow local law enforcement to seize guns from those deemed a threat to themselves or others, and a repeal on liability protections for gun companies, a provision that prevents manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits.