U.S. Markets closed

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham says Judiciary Committee will hold gun control hearing March 26

Tucker Higgins
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CNN on Wednesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on gun control March 26, according to the outlet, which published the senator's comments Thursday. 
  • The influential committee chairman said that the panel will discuss so-called "red flag" laws, a type of legislation passed in many U.S. states that permits courts to take away firearms from suspected dangerous individuals after receiving warnings from police officers or family members.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CNN on Wednesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on gun control March 26, according to the outlet, which published the senator's comments Thursday.

The influential committee chairman said that the panel will discuss so-called "red flag" laws, a type of legislation passed in many U.S. states that permits courts to take away firearms from suspected dangerous individuals after receiving warnings from police officers or family members.

Red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection, enjoy largely bipartisan support, and have been praised by both the White House and the National Rifle Association, a powerful pro-gun lobby.

Graham, who has become a close ally of the president, said that he and Trump had discussed the matter. He noted that there was "a lot of common ground" on aspects of the proposal.

The hearing has not yet appeared on the committee's public schedule and the senator did not say who may be called as a witness.

But holding a hearing on gun control is nonetheless a remarkable development in the GOP-dominated Senate, whose Republican majority has historically opposed any new regulation on gun ownership.

In February, the House of Representatives held its first hearing on gun control in eight years, and passed the first significant legislation on the matter in more than two decades. Democrats secured control of the House in January.

The legislation would strengthen existing background check requirements for gun sales and transfers. The NRA blasted the bill as " extreme ," and Trump vowed to veto it if it passed the Senate, which appears unlikely.

Red flag laws gained bipartisan support following the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February of 2018.

In March of that year, Graham and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., introduced red flag legislation that ultimately never went anywhere. Sen. Marco Rubio, D-Fla., introduced similar legislation that month that would have encouraged states to adopt such laws.

In January, Rubio, alongside, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, re-introduced the legislation.

"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 Wednesday. "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."

Graham said that there would be "plenty" of due process protections included in any federal legislation.

"We're trying to drive states to create these laws with certain guidelines to make sure they actually work," he said. "But to let the states deal with this issue, but to incentivize them to do so."

Neither Graham nor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the committee's ranking member, responded to a request for comment from CNBC Wednesday.



More From CNBC