Sanders, Graham debate gun politics in Boston as both signal approval of bipartisan deal – NBC Boston
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina met Monday in Boston to discuss various issues, including gun control.
The debate, which was produced by FOX News, took place at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Dorchester. It came a day after a bipartisan group of senators reached a tentative agreement on gun control legislation.
Measures include financial incentives for ‘red flag’ laws, enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21, mental health resources and closing the so-called ‘boyfriend loophole’ “.
Gun control campaigners say closing the loophole, which allows those convicted of domestic violence to pass a background check as long as they are not the victim’s spouse, is a marked improvement .
“More than half of mass shootings have a connection to domestic violence,” said Ruth Zakarin, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. “In this article in particular, which will protect more victims of domestic violence from guns and abusers who have access to guns, that seems like a very important step forward.”
Graham is one of 10 Republicans supporting the package; Sanders said he was “completely sure” he would vote for the measures.
“I think it’s a modest step forward, but it doesn’t go far enough,” Sanders said. “As a nation, we have to ask ourselves if it’s okay for anyone to walk into a gun store and walk out with an AR-15.”
Graham acknowledged Sanders’ likely decision to make concessions on gun control.
“We made some news here today. Senator Sanders says he’ll be open-minded, the way it’s written, the package we negotiated. That’s a big deal, because it’s not is not what he wants.”
The proposed measures have enough support – at least 60 senators – to avoid a filibuster. This means that any bill would have a clearer path to becoming law.