In an upsurge, McConnell supports the Senate’s bipartisan gun deal

WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his support for his chamber on Tuesday emerging bipartisan arms dealadding momentum for modest but noteworthy action by Congress in election year on an issue that has stalled lawmakers for three decades.

The Kentucky Republican said he hoped an overview of the agreement, published on Sunday by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, would be legislated and enacted. McConnell’s endorsement was the latest indication that last month’s gun shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, had reconfigured the political calculations of some in the GOP after years of staunchly opposing even a gradual tightening of firearms restrictions had spoken.

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“If that framework becomes actual law, that’s a step forward, a step forward on a bipartisan basis,” McConnell told reporters. to make progress for the country.”

McConnell’s comments were notable five months ahead of the midterm elections in which Republicans hope to gain control of the Senate and likely win a majority in the House of Representatives. For years, GOP candidates could risk their careers by defying the views of the party’s loyal voters who own guns and rural voters who oppose moves seen as threatening their gun ownership and use.

McConnell appeared to be implying that backing this gun action wouldn’t spoil some Republicans’ prospects in November. While he said senators should take a position “based on the views of their states,” he said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a principal architect of the deal, presented GOP poll data at a behind-closed-doors senators’ luncheon and said support among gun owners for the terms of the agreement is “extraordinary, overwhelming”.

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The plan would make juvenile records of gun buyers under the age of 21 part of required background checks for the first time. Money would be sent to states for mental health and school safety programs, as well as incentives to enforce local “red flag” laws, which allow authorities to obtain court approval to temporarily remove guns from those deemed dangerous.

Senators and aides are hoping to translate their broad approval into legislation in days, hoping Congress could approve them before he leaves on July 4. Both sides recognize that this is a difficult process that can lead to disputes and delays.

Some Republicans expressed dissatisfaction with the plan on Tuesday, with much of the criticism aimed at promoting “red flag” legislation. Nineteen states, dominated mostly by Democrats and the District of Columbia, have them, but Republicans have blocked efforts in Congress to pass federal legislation on the issue.

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“If we don’t pass a federal red flag law, and we shouldn’t, why would we encourage states to do what we think is a bad idea?” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, RN.D .

A final deal on the overall legislation is expected to have solid support from Democrats. But it would take at least 10 GOP votes to reach the usual 60 Senate vote threshold, and McConnell’s praise raised hopes that Republican support would grow even beyond that.

Approval from the Democrat-led House of Representatives seems likely, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has hailed the measure as a first step toward heavy restrictions in the future.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said he will schedule a vote on the bill once it is ready. He likens the progress of the past few days to Congress’ failure to act after a parade of mass shootings in recent decades.

“After Uvalde and Buffalo, maybe this time it could be different. For many senators on both sides, this debate certainly feels different,” Schumer said.

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The last major gun action by Congress was an assault weapons ban, which went into effect in 1994 but expired 10 years later.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/14/in-a-boost-mcconnell-backs-senate-bipartisan-gun-deal/ In an upsurge, McConnell supports the Senate’s bipartisan gun deal

Sarah Y. Kim

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