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Sen. McConnell says he’s ‘comfortable’ with bipartisan gun control deal

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 14, 2022

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that he’s preparing to back a bipartisan gun control framework announced on Sunday by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. The framework has not yet been written or introduced as formal legislation.

“I’m comfortable with the framework, and if the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework indicates, I’ll be supportive,” McConnell told reporters at a press conference.

McConnell’s support, in addition to the 10 Republicans who already joined the framework, means it could overcome a potential filibuster.

It’s not yet clear whether the framework will be introduced on legislation that can be debated and passed before the July 4 recess.

McConnell called the framework “a step forward” marking “progress for the country,” without mentioning the need for any amendments to the proposal.

Some of McConnell’s Republican colleagues, however, have criticized the framework’s incentive for “red flag” gun confiscation laws, and expressed concerns over due process violations.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would not immediately signal support for the framework, instead saying, “I have to read it first.”

Majority House Whip James Clyburn also held short of support on Monday, telling USA Today, “There are things about this I’ve got to see.”

The framework proposes what it calls an “Enhanced Review Process” for gun buyers under 21 that requires an investigative period to review a potential buyer’s juvenile and mental health records.

In addition to the longer review process for buyers under 21, the Senate proposal also calls for an incentive for states and tribal authorities to pass laws allowing authorities to seize firearms from individuals whom a court determines pose a danger to themselves or others.

The proposal announced Sunday is supported by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Angus King — an independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats.

The proposal is also supported by John Cornyn (R-TX), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

The proposal also includes more support for mental health resources, more funding for school safety resources, more strictly defines federal firearms licensing requirements, and “cracks down” on people who straw purchase and traffic guns.

The proposal does not include a magazine capacity limit despite Biden’s calls for a ban on so-called “high-capacity” magazines. Biden called the deal a reflection of “important steps in the right direction” and said he would sign the legislation — which he said “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”