GREENVILLE, S.C. (WYFF) - U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham visited Palmetto State Armory in Greenville Thursday to show his support for the Second Amendment.
Graham fired off some practice rounds at the shooting range’s indoor range with an AR-style rifle, which would be made illegal under the Assault Weapons Ban.
Graham was flanked by Mark Oliva, Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
“In South Carolina, we take seriously the right to bear arms, but also the responsibility that comes from owning a weapon,” Graham said at the start of his remarks.
He said the background check bills recently passed by the U.S. House go too far, citing gun sales.
The bills, passed in early March, require background checks on all firearms sales and transfers and allow an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. Similar bills were passed by the House in 2019, shortly after Democrats won the majority, but stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate for the next two years.
Graham said there is room for compromise.
“We can do something with the gun show loopholes, I think, but if you transfer a weapon to a family member, I’m not really sure how that is affected in the House bill,” Graham said.
He also said he would oppose an assault weapons ban backed by President Joe Biden if it is brought to the Senate floor, but looks forward to the debate.
“Let’s bring them all to the floor,” he said. “Let’s vote. Maybe we can find some compromise, but I want to put every United States Senator on the record as to where they stand on the Second Amendment. I think the voters in 2022 need to understand this.”
Graham told the stories of three cases that have happened in South Carolina so far this year where citizens have had to use guns to defend themselves.
- An 80-year old veteran in Aiken, whose house was being broken into and his wife was being stabbed, shot the intruder, Graham said.
- A home break-in in Iva ended with the homeowner shooting the intruder, he said.
- At a barbershop in Columbia, one of the barbers used a lawfully owned gun to stop the robbery, according to Graham.
“One of the things about our Constitution is that we understood early on that if you live in a dictatorship, or in places where the government runs everything, the first thing they take away from you is not just your speech but your ability to defend yourself,” Graham said. “That’s why the Second Amendment exists. The ability to own a gun responsibly is a constitutional right in America, and here’s what I would say: we need that right today, as much as any other time in American history.”
When asked if his comments about the need for guns for self-protection were fearmongering, Graham defended himself with what he called the president’s own words.
“Well, Joe Biden told Jill, ‘If you find yourself in a bad spot, take the rifle and scare people away,’” Graham said.
“We live in a world where law and order are breaking down all too often,” Graham said. “The bottom line is self-defense is one of the fundamental rights associated with the Second Amendment. Most people in South Carolina who buy a gun will tell you one of the reasons they have a weapon is for self-defense purposes.”
He said the “liberals” who are talking about taking people’s guns away, already have their own protection.
“It’s the liberal elite who are able to live in a security environment the average person can’t have. All the people talking about taking your guns away have armed guards around them. So I’m here to tell you, look in South Carolina this year, where three people, senior citizens, mostly, if they had not had a gun they would have been killed. Women would be raped and people would be killed time and time again without the ability to defend themselves. This is not fear-mongering. This actually happens,” Graham said.