What Congress Might Do on Gun Control

Since last weekend’s massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio left 31 people dead, a growing number of Republicans in Washington have expressed support for a “red flag” bill that would allow a narrow class of people to petition a court to disarm an individual who is a threat to himself or others.

“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process,” President Trump said during his remarks on Monday. “That is why I have called for red-flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”

“There is some momentum for the red-flag bills,” Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, tells National Review. “You’ve got to be very careful how you do that: Very well-defined criteria and very strong due process.”

“A red-flag bill is likely to go through the Judiciary Committee. Senator [Lindsey] Graham has said he wants to do a mark-up, so I think that’s pretty likely,” Toomey adds.

Although Congress is adjourned for the August recess, Graham, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has said that he and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) will soon introduce a bill that would provide grants to states to “assist and encourage” the adoption of red-flag laws. “These grants will be given to law enforcement so they can hire and consult with mental-health professionals to better determine which cases need to be acted upon. This grant program also requires robust due process and judicial review. It does allow for quick action,” Graham said in a statement.


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