Rep. Crenshaw: No to Red Flag Laws/Universal Background Checks; 'Maybe' to Higher Age Limit; Yes to School Security

( – “Would you vote yes on a national red flag law?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a Navy seal who was injured during his service in Afghanistan.

“No, I wouldn’t,” Crenshaw said:

“You would think, from the trolls on the Internet, that I’m the number-one advocate for red flag laws. That’s a bit of a myth perpetuated by my own side.

“Now, truthfully, I think there’s a lot of problems with red flag laws, especially at a national level. When it comes to criminal law, that really should be democratically decided at the local and state level, but, even so, you have to look at these and wonder what the actual purpose is.”

Crenshaw said red flag laws penalize people before they even break the law:


“And that’s a really difficult thing to do. It’s difficult to assess whether somebody is a threat. Now, if they’re such a threat they’re threatening somebody with a weapon already, well, then they have already broken the law, so why do you need this other law?

“That’s the question that I think critics rightfully ask about these things. And so it’s really unclear, one, how they’re properly enforced, how due process is adhered to, and then ultimately how they even solve the problem, because these things have to be reported for them to actually matter.

“And, in this case, look, you have a troubled teenager who did some very strange things, shooting at people with BB guns, cutting himself, saying crazy things.

“Does this reach the level where you involuntarily — involuntarily commit him or take his property? Because the thing is, is…those things that this teenager was doing could be applied to quite a few teenagers.”

Crenshaw said it’s not clear if a red flag law would have prevented the massacre in Uvalde, Texas:

“So maybe the solution we could agree on is improving our background check system, because, look, the — again, he went through a background check…The problem is that the background check didn’t capture the full story of this person.

“So, look, Republicans are the ones that proposed and passed the Fix NICS Act. Republicans have proposed the 21st Century Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Act, which further improves the system. It was the NRA that actually advocated for background checks in the first place, because, look, gun owners do want law-abiding citizens to have guns.”

Crenshaw opposes what the Democrats call “universal” background checks: “So, people have to understand what universal background checks mean. That means that I can no longer sell a gun to my friend. If my neighbor, let’s say her husband, is gone for the week and she wants to borrow my gun, that would make us both felons.

“That’s the problem with universal background checks. And the people who are least likely to adhere to universal background check are the criminals who intend harm. So, again, it’s an outcome problem. I don’t think they would have the outcome people think they would have.”

Bash also asked Crenshaw, “Should you be 21 to buy a gun?”

“Well, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is, should 21 be the age that you’re an adult? As a society, we do have to decide when you’re technically an adult. And, right now, we technically say 18.

“Well, look, I’m not very impressed by our current swathe of 18-year- olds and their maturity level, so maybe we should have that conversation. But then it has to apply broadly. It has to mean that you’re not an adult until 21.

“And then what happens then? Crenshaw asked. “When we see a 22-year-old commit an atrocity, are we going to raise it again and are we going to raise it again? And, at a certain point, we have to ask ourselves what our limiting principle is as far as that age limit, because, truthfully, the vast majority of these horrible shootings have been caused by an older person.”

Crenshaw mentioned school security as something that does need to change:

“So, it’s not as if Republicans have never proposed anything,” he said.

“Again, I went through some earlier, the Fix NICS Act, the 21st Century Fix NICS Act, which is a new proposal. Looking at the STOP Violence in Schools Act, that one actually put resources towards schools for school resource officers. Increasing the penalties for straw buyers.”

Crenshaw said a lot of Democrat gun control proposals “do two things.”

“One, they infringe on the rights of million and millions of gun owners. And, two, they probably wouldn’t have the outcome that you’re hoping for.

“So, if you’re not going to get the benefit you want, but you’re going to — it’s going to come at great cost, that generally means it’s not a very good policy. Again, that’s why I go back to hardening schools.”

Crenshaw noted there is no strong correlation between gun ownership and gun violence: “It’s not as strong as a lot of people tend to believe it is. You have states like New Hampshire and Midwestern states that extremely lax gun control, but very little crime,” he said.

“I think, culturally, we’re a country that has long had a Second Amendment that believes in the right to self-defense. I don’t think it’s a problem that I own guns. And I know that, if I destroyed all my guns, it would have zero effect on crime. It would have zero effect on gun homicides, because I’m not the person who goes and shoots somebody.

“I am a person who might protect somebody from being shot. The other thing that gets left out of this — and this is a CDC study. CDC found that there’s hundreds of thousands of cases a year where somebody used a gun to protect themselves or protect others.”

Crenshaw also rejected the “weapons of war” label that gun control advocates apply to semi-automatic weapons:

“So, having been to war and having used many, many weapons of war, I don’t really classify these rifles as weapons of war. We use them, but we use them — they’re more a self-defense weapon. And I would say that if a SEAL team or an infantry team goes on offense, they’re using much, much bigger weapons that are not available to your common civilian.

“We use our M-4s, which is an AR-style weapon, mostly for self-defense and for very close-quarters type of combat. So — and, by the way, they’re — they have capabilities that your civilian rifles do not.

“These are still semiautomatic rifles. In the military, we have automatic weapons. I would say we never use them on full auto because they’re extremely inaccurate that way, so they’re not really useful in that sense. But, in any case, these are not the same.”

“And I would add one more thing about rifles…they actually make good self-defense weapons.”


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