WASHINGTON -- Many lawmakers have touted themselves as responsible gun owners amid the national debate on gun control. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) took things a step further on Wednesday while pushing back against the call for new gun laws -- by professing his love for Quentin Tarantino and his violent movies.
"Being from South Carolina, I've owned guns all of my life," Graham said at a press conference. "I own an AR-15. I saw the movie 'Django [Unchained].' I like Quentin Tarantino."
"That may say a lot about my movie taste, but there are many moving parts to this," he added.
It's not the first time Graham has invoked his AR-15 while arguing against new gun laws -- the senator recently mentioned his semi-automatic rifle while making the case that high-capacity magazines are needed to protect families.
It was, however, the first time Graham has weighed in on Tarantino's much-debated slavery revenge flick. He appeared to be arguing that violence in the media and video games ought to be discussed, while simultaneously making the case that individuals such as himself could act as both responsible gun owners and consumers of violent cinema.
Tarantino himself called it "disrespectful" to the victims of December's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and their families, to talk about movies in the same context.
The broader point of Graham's press availability was to highlight the case of Alice Boland, a woman arrested in his home state of South Carolina for allegedly trying to kill two school officials. Boland, a patient suffering from schizophrenia, was previously arrested in 2005 for threatening to shoot President George W. Bush and members of Congress -- but was eventually acquitted of those charges when she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and was ruled mentally unfit for trial.
Graham called on President Barack Obama to do a better job of enforcing existing gun laws to ensure people like Boland, who didn't show up in the NICS background check system, are unable to purchase a firearm. He also said he will introduce legislation to address the issue but didn't offer any specifics.
Obama has continued to pressure lawmakers to act on a broad set of gun control reforms, including comprehensive background checks. In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, the president made an emotional plea to Congress to at least bring each measure up for a vote.
Graham was not impressed.
"Last night the president made a very emotional plea for us to vote on new gun legislation that I think quite frankly will have marginal effect -- some of it dubious at best," he said. "Mr. President, you have a chance to enforce existing laws in a way that would make us all safer. We don't need a cheerleader right now for new gun laws. We need somebody to enforce the laws we have."
And yet, despite his criticism, Graham later said he agreed that votes are in order.
"Let's vote. I don't disagree with the president to have a debate," Graham said. "Let's vote. Let's find something we can agree on."
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