Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says he would “welcome that debate” if ownership of so-called “assault weapons” were brought to the Senate floor, because he owns such a firearm and would use it to protect his home and neighborhood in the event of a natural disaster.
Graham took some heat from his recent rival, Democrat Jaime Harrison, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, over the comment during an interview on Fox News over the weekend. He told host Chris Wallace, “I own an AR-15. If there is a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last one that the gang will come to because I can defend myself.”
In response, Harrison told MSNBC, “Lindsey Graham lives in Central, South Carolina. You have a population probably less than the block that you live on. The only gang that Lindsey Graham’s gonna see in Central is probably at the Walmart standing in the one line that is open.”
Graham soundly defeated Harrison during last year’s South Carolina senate race, despite the fact that the Democrat raised tens of millions of dollars in his challenge. Both men received lots of out-of-state money for their campaigns.
During his interview with Wallace, Graham challenged his anti-gun Democrat colleagues to have an open debate on banning so-called “assault weapons.”
“At the end of the day, if you think an assault weapons ban is what the country needs, bring it to the floor of the United States Senate and vote on it. I welcome that debate,” Graham stated.
As reported by USA Today, Graham solidified his position, telling Wallace, “If you have (an AR-15) lawfully, I think you should be allowed to keep it.”
By some estimates, there are as many as 17 million privately-owned semi-auto modern sporting rifles in the United States. According to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of all homicides nationwide. That hasn’t made the political left any less determined to set a precedent by banning them or regulating them like machine guns.
Since the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado recently, the effort to ban AR-type firearms has been re-energized. Still, such a ban could have an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. While it might pass in Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, the idea could be a non-starter in the Senate, where some Democrats are cool to such a ban.