Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Wednesday during a Senate committee hearing on gun control that he is a proud owner of an AR-15 assault rifle, and personally hesitant to restrict magazine capacity because such a decision, he said, could give rise to gun-packing mothers running out of bullets when faced by a criminal threat.
"You could find yourself in this country in a lawless environment from a natural disaster or a riot," he said. "I have an AR-15 at home, and I haven't hurt anybody, and I don't intend to do it."
The Republican senator added that he would carry his assault rifle around his neighborhood in the event of "a law and order breakdown," then said that magazine capacity should not be restricted because "there could be a situation where a mother runs out of bullets because of something we do here."
"Fifteen rounds in the hands of a mother trying to protect her children may not be enough," Graham said. He also added that "there will be less police officers, not more, in the next decade," saying that is a reason to buy more guns. On the other hand, Graham, as critics immediately pointed out, personally voted against jobs legislation that hired more police and other municipal workers in the wake of the financial crash of 2008.
Ahead of the hearing, Graham complained in a letter to committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that local law enforcement will not allow them to bring unloaded assault weapons to the Capitol for the hearing. “Our goal is simple — to educate fellow senators and members of the public how and why firearms are used by millions of law-abiding Americans for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes,” a letter from Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz (R-TX) explained, according to Politico. “We also want to shatter the mistaken belief that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are a danger to society.
One of the witnesses at the hearing, Daily Caller writer Gayle Trotter, head of the conservative Independent Women's Forum, argued that limiting magazine capacity would particularly affect women, who she claimed believe the AR-15 to be their "weapon of choice."
"An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon, and the peace of mind that a woman has as she’s facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home, with her children screaming in the background, the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened, violent criminals," she said.
Later asked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) whether she would feel just as comfortable with a 10-round magazine, she replied that his perception is different because, "You are a large man. Tall! Tall man. You are not a young mother who has a young child with her. You are not a mother stuck in her house, and she cannot get the police there fast enough to protect her child. And she's never been in a firefight."
The AR-15 is the same weapons platform used by the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut, where 27 people were killed during a massacre in December.
This video was published to YouTube on Wednesday, January 30, 2013.