For The Record

Perdue wavers on supporting ‘red flag’ legislation

By: - August 8, 2019 8:00 am

David Perdue talks with the press Wednesday, Aug. 7, about gun control. Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder

Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue stopped short of saying he would support “red flag” gun legislation, citing concerns that such a law could threaten a person’s due process rights.

Bipartisan support appears to be growing for a federal law that would authorize law enforcement to take weapons away from a person the courts have found to be a danger.

The appeal broadened after President Donald Trump said in remarks Monday that he would embrace such a measure after back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 31 people dead and dozens injured this weekend.

Democrats, though, say a federal red flag law alone is insufficient and that it should be coupled with a broader background check law.

The first-term Republican senator, who is back home for the August recess, said at a meeting with reporters at his Atlanta office Wednesday that “on the surface” he supported the idea of empowering family members and others closest to a person — those who are mostly likely if something is amiss — to alert the authorities.

“I’m a Second Amendment guy,” Perdue said. “But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do some things to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

But he stressed concerns over how such a proposal would balance the government’s authority to confiscate a gun from a troubled person with that individual’s constitutional rights.

“Our founders had one thing in mind and it is that they wanted out from under the thumb of a monarch-type structure, a top-down structure. They did not want big government,” Perdue said.

Perdue cautioned against relying on lawmakers to resolve a weighty problem that has spawned tragedy after tragedy.

“Legislative things alone are not going to solve this problem. We have laws on the books right now that you cannot sell illicit drugs in America. We have laws on the books that you can’t come across our border illegally,” Perdue said.

“Yes, we need to continue to work on legislation, but for the rest of America to sit back and say, ‘Well, the politicians are going to solve this,’ that hasn’t happen in 50 years and I don’t think it’s going to happen now.”

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Jill Nolin
Jill Nolin

Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.