Graham won't join gun legislation filibuster
March 31st, 2013
12:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Graham won't join gun legislation filibuster

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham does not support extending background checks to gun sales between two individuals, nor does he think such a bill would pass the Senate, but he said Sunday he will not hold the measure up with a filibuster

"The only way I would filibuster a bill is if Sen. (Harry) Reid did not allow alternative amendments," the South Carolina Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

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That means he won't be joining Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, on the Senate floor if the junior senator decides to protest the gun violence legislation Reid introduced this month. Reid, D-Nevada, is the Senate majority leader and proposed a bill which would expand the scope of background checks on gun purchases, add new school safety measures, and crack down on gun trafficking.

It does not include a ban on assault weapons or magazine capacity restrictions that some gun control advocates have argued would help reduce gun violence, but Reid said he would accept amendments to the bill on the Senate floor in April.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said on CNN he would introduce an amendment related to gun magazine sizes.

"The majority leader has assured me and other proponents of these measures that we can offer amendments on both the assault weapons ban and the prohibition on high-capacity magazines," he said. "So there will be votes and I intend to spearhead that amendment on the high-capacity magazines."

Graham explained he is opposed to the background check expansion because the federal database and system is "clearly broken" and in need of improvement.

"This idea of private individuals transferring their weapons and having to go through a background check makes no sense," he said. "I think that legislation is going nowhere. But I would like to have a robust debate about improving the system to make sure that people who are mentally ill do not get a gun, to begin with. And there's a lot we can do on a bipartisan basis."

He and three other senators - Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, plus Democrats Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska - have advanced "a bill to redefine mental health adjudications" which would ensure that not only convictions for crimes, but pleas of insanity and court orders to undergo mental health treatment are included in the database. The bill has the support of the National Rifle Association, unlike many other legislative proposals.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, predicted Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that a measure expanding background checks would fare well in the Senate.

"I called it the 'sweet spot' because it would do a whole lot of good and had a good chance of passing," he said of the background check issue. "I'm working very hard with both Democrats and Republicans, pro-NRA and anti-NRA people to come up with a background check bill that will be acceptable to 60 senators and be very strong and get the job done."

"It's very hard," he allowed. "We're working hard and I'm very hopeful that we can get this passed."

But Mark Kelly, the gun control advocate who is married to former congresswoman and gunshot victim Gabrielle Giffords, does not believe an expansion of background checks should stop with the legislation Graham proposed. He argued exempting private sales from the background check requirement leaves open a significant loophole in the firearms marketplace.

"It's crazy that we have a system … that responsible gun owners get a background check, and the option to avoid one is available for anybody who doesn't want to do it," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "Any bill that does not include a universal background check is a mistake. It's the most commonsense thing we can do to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from having access to weapons."

He recently began a purchase of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle from an Arizona gun retailer and said the background check process was simple and characterized incorrectly by opponents. The seller, however, canceled the sale after Kelly spoke out about the ease of the transaction.

"In five minutes and 36 seconds is the time it took to fill out one piece of paper," he said. "You only have to fill out one side for it to be submitted into the National Instant Criminal background system and get an answer. Five minutes and 36 seconds. So what it shows you is it is not the burden that the NRA leadership says, what a background check is."

Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun control • Gun rights • Lindsey Graham • Mark Kelly
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Without

    What's the matter, not enough money in it for you?

    March 31, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. LIbertyGuy

    Yet another spineless republican who doesn't even believe in their own ideologies. If you want freedom, lower to no taxes, and gun rights you should be in the Libertarian party case closed. The NRA doesn't even really support gun rights no joke as they keep promoting republican congressmen that don't support gun rights.

    March 31, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Disaster Capitalism

    A bunch of kindergartner's are slaughtered with rounds used by America's military. The .223 round is specifically designed to kill humans. And they were fired by NRA supporter Adam Lanza. Then all of a sudden tens of thousands firearms are sold in America, making firearms manufacturers and dealers millions, not to mention the massive run on ammo! MILLIONS of dollars made!!!!! Then these same manufacturers, dealer's, and the NRA decide there is no reason for universal background checks on individuals on the purchase of ALL weapons sold public or private.... As if they simply want a free for all gun trade among paranoid Americans and greedy Americans whom sell to mexican cartels and terrorists, all for profit..... Coincidence? It's called Disaster Capitalism.

    March 31, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    My main concern here is before even the final draft bill Bill is to presented the GOP are talking filibuster!! Worse still H Reid has said he will accept for vote reasonble amendments to any proposed bill.
    Senator Paul is the classic case of even when debate on his views could be offered from him he chooses to say he will filibuster any legislation!! That not just gridlock it absolute total and complete stalemate which is in no way what the founding fathers intended thru the checks and balances. Filibusters were reserved for a very serious principle beliefs being overridden by laws proposed hence the onerous nature of the original filibuster rules

    March 31, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. king

    the repubs just cannot help themselves with the fila busting, remember the senate Mitch McConnell fila busting his own bill. i guarantee if Obama is for it, the repubs will be against it, and it doesn't matter how good a sense the bill makes. they know they will be challenged in the next election, if they agree with Obama in any shape or form by the right wingers. these people are actually against the progress of this country because of their hatred for one man. this has past craziness.

    March 31, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Dennis

    It's not the 5 minutes and 36 seconds that is the problem. It's the "list of all gun owners and every gun they own" that is the problem. The government has already proven – via the Katrina aftermath – that they are willing to forcibly disarm us. The only questions now are when does it happen again, on what scale (city-wide? state-wide? nationally?), and how effective will they be.

    Before, I might have believed someone who said "Oh, but we're not like Europe and Asia and South America and Central America and Africa, where other gun registrations led to gun confiscations. We're different. That could never happen here."

    But we're not different. It has happened. And that's why I will always be against a registry – a list of all guns and gun owners. And you can't make an effective universal background check without it (it can't detect when someone sells a gun without doing a background check). That's why you see opposition to the background checks.

    It's not the check that's the problem. It's the registry.

    March 31, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Pete

    Just goes to show how republicans again have been bought with now fillibustering gun legislation by the NRA agenda..What next fillibustering seniors,women's and child rights,when will this clown train stop ..Don't these republican idiots think they're fillibustering to their own partys extinction because if it don't stop here who knows what idiots of this party will survive after midterms,hopefully none of them I hope !!

    March 31, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |