Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on June 14 announced that he will likely support a gun control package put together after weeks of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.
A bipartisan group of senators on June 12 announced the legislative package of gun control measures that include more resources for mental health needs, school safety, and more.
The proposal has the support of 10 Republican senators, which is needed in the 50–50 Senate to overcome any legislative filibuster. It was praised by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a longtime proponent of gun control measures.
The plan calls for an “enhanced review process” for younger gun buyers.
For prospective buyers under 21 years of age, the plan “requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement,” according to their statement.
The bill also will provide support for state crisis intervention, protections for domestic violence victims, funding for school-based mental health and supportive services, investment in children and family mental health services, clarification of the definition of federally licensed firearms dealer, penalties for “straw purchasing” of guns, and telehealth investments.
Notably, the framework bill includes a so-called red flag provision, allowing for “resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others,” according to a June 12 statement by the group.
Ten Republicans—including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mitt Romney (Utah), John Cornyn (Texas), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Pat Toomey (Pa.)—already support the measure, granting it the support it will likely need to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.
Now, GOP Leader McConnell has announced that he is likely to throw his support, which carries substantial weight in the Republican Senate caucus, behind the measure.
“For myself, I’m comfortable with the framework and if the legislation ends up reflecting the framework, I’ll be supportive,” McConnell told reporters after a weekly GOP Senate lunch.
If he ends up giving his support to the bill, he will become the eleventh Republican to do so, setting the legislation up for easy passage through the Senate.
The measure also looks likely to win the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.
On June 14, critical swing-voter Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) also announced that he would support the gun control package.
“We have to do something. And gun owners are standing up. You take polls around the country, in my state, too—law-abiding gun owners want something to be done,” Manchin said. “They don’t want people who should never have a gun, or is mentally incapacitated or not stable, to be able to access anything they want.”
The principles underlying the package, primarily prevention and intervention, are “something that’s sensible and reasonable,” Manchin said.
“We have got to take what we have got as a positive and work off of this. But this should not—this piece of legislation, as drafted, should not be threatening to any law-abiding citizen in the United States of America, not one. And no law-abiding gun owner should be offended by this,” Machin continued. “We take no rights away, no privileges away. We don’t basically threaten you’re going to lose anything at all.”
However, the inclusion of controversial red flag provisions—which allow the state to seize weapons from someone or prevent them from purchasing a weapon based on an anonymous tip that they may be a danger to themselves or others—has long been an issue that Second Amendment advocacy groups have rallied against.
In the House, Democrat Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) suggested that the measure, following its likely passage through the Senate, will also receive the support of an “overwhelming majority” of Democrats.
In sum, the bill seems set to breeze through both chambers of Congress, making it likely that it will end up on the desk of President Joe Biden, who has endorsed calls for tighter gun laws.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.