Republican leader’s support virtually guarantees bill’s passage
Sen Mitch McConnell ended speculation over the bipartisan gun reform and school safety framework that resulted from a compromise struck by Republikansk and Democratic negotiatiors, with an endorsement of the overall plan.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the GOP Senate leader said that he would vote for legislation that met the framework laid out by negotiators last week, which would expand background checks for people under the age of 21 and establish a federal grant program for states to pass red flag laws.
“For myself, I’m comfortable with the framework and if the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework indicates, I’ll be supporting,” Mr McConnell said.
Should his promise hold true, it would virtually end any speculation regarding whether the legislation, previously seen as a long-shot, will pass. The compromise bill already had the signed-on support of 10 Republican senators, enough for a filibuster-proof passage; nå, that number is likely to swell to include most of the GOP caucus if Mr McConnell is behind it.
The GOP leader famously has an ironclad grip on much of the Senate GOP caucus and isn’t afraid to exert his influence, including in the case of whipping votes against efforts to impede the certification of the 2020 election on January 6.
Sen Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator on the legislation, added in his own statement to reporters that the framework was a “breakthrough” that if passed “will save thousands of lives”.
The framework outlined by the working group of Democrats and Republicans last week also includes a surge in federal funding for mental health treatment and efforts to improve security in America’s schools. It does not go far as most Democrats wanted to restrict firearm ownership, but remains the first signficant compromise on gun control with the chance of passage in Congress in decades.
Some Democrats pushed for bans on assault weapons, expansion of background checks to private gun sales and other provisions aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of younger Americans and those considered dangerous or mentally ill after twin massacres in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York shocked the nation in recent weeks.
While the compromise looks to be on the path to the president’s desk, many gun violence activists remain committed to pursuing further action in response to America’s struggle with school shootings and other episodes of mass violence.