Washington- Senate Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he supports the framework agreement for an arms reform plan announced this weekend by a bipartisan group of senators.
“For myself I am comfortable with the framework and if the legislation ultimately reflects what the framework says I will support it,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
A group of 20 senators, led by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, announced Sunday that theyon the key priorities of a deal to reform the country’s gun laws. Senators set to work to agree legislative solutions to stem gun violence in the wake of the mass shootings in and †
Negotiators are still finalizing the bill, but 10 GOP senators have signed the framework so that it could overcome a filibuster if all 50 Democrats support the plan and Republicans maintain their support. McConnell’s support is a crucial win for Republicans who are pushing for the proposal to be the most significant update to the country’s gun laws in nearly three decades.
The agreement would encourage states to pass so-called “red flag” laws, increase mental health resources, provide funding for school safety resources, clarify the definition of a federally recognized firearms dealer and criminalize illegal purchases. and trade combat rifles.
It would also expand background checks for firearms buyers under 21 by requiring an investigation period to review juvenile and mental health records. Convicted perpetrators of domestic violence and those subject to restraining orders would now also be included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”
The plan doesn’t go as far as a package of bills thatlast week and stops President Biden’s own proposals to strengthen gun laws. The president has to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, or raise the minimum age for buying semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21, but those proposals were unlikely to gain the support of enough Republicans to go ahead in the 50-50 Senate.
Senate negotiators instead sought to reach consensus on a more tailor-made plan that would cross the 60-vote threshold for legislation. Both the president and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer have said they support the framework.
While McConnell would not consider raising the age to buy semi-automatic weapons, he said improved background checks for gun buyers under 21 are a “step in the right direction.”
“I think if this framework becomes the actual piece of legislation, it’s a step forward, a step forward on a two-pronged basis, further showing the American people that we can come together, which we’ve done from time to time about things like infrastructure and post reform, to make progress for the country,” he said.
McConnell later reiterated that if the framework leads to similar legislation, he intends to support it.
Cornyn said on Tuesday that he hopes negotiators will complete their work on the bill later this week and that he is “focused on drafting a text that reflects the common sense and focused proposal that we agreed to in principle”.
Schumer has promised to take the measure to the Senate floor once the bill is finalized.
“I urge my colleagues to think about all the lives we can now save by enacting this framework into law,” he said on the Senate floor on Monday. “Americans have waited long enough for us to act. Too many lives have already been lost. Too many families have been plunged into grief. While we cannot undo the tragedies of the past, we can act now to make them less likely.” to make in the future.”