McConnell backs bipartisan gun safety legislation

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he will support the bipartisan gun safety bill text released Tuesday, which was completed days after a group of senators had announced agreement on the bill’s framework.

“I support the bill text that Senator Cornyn and our colleagues have produced,” McConnell said in a statement. “For years, the far left falsely claimed that Congress could only address the terrible issue of mass murders by trampling on law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights.”

“This bill proves that false,” he continued. “Our colleagues have put together a commonsense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

McConnell’s support indicates the bill has a chance of garnering support from additional Senate Republicans who had not already endorsed the bill’s framework.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) predicted the legislation would pass and noted that 10 Republican senators signed off on the bipartisan framework underlying the bill earlier this month.

“My assumption is that based on that fact that they had 60 votes for the framework that they’ll have enough to pass,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) immediately held a vote Tuesday evening to proceed to the bill and predicted it would pass by the end of the week.

“I expect the bill to pass the Senate by the week’s end. I want to commend all of my colleagues, so many who worked so hard on this bill, for their diligent and astute efforts to finalize this legislation,” Schumer said.

McConnell’s statement also marks a notable break between the senator and the National Rifle Association (NRA), which was quick to voice its opposition to the legislation.

The package includes $750 million for states to implement crisis intervention orders that keep firearms out of the hands of individuals determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others, provisions to close the so-called boyfriend loophole, and a requirement to review juvenile records for gun purchasers under the age of 21.

McConnell had supported the bipartisan negotiations, which were sparked by a string of recent high-profile mass shootings, including at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. McConnell deputized Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to lead the Republican side of the talks.

The text’s release comes days after a group of 20 senators — 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats — signed on to a nine-point gun safety framework, which indicated the proposal has a good chance of garnering the necessary support to overcome a legislative filibuster, assuming all Democrats support the bill.

Negotiators had since been debating the details of the proposal as they translated the framework into legislative text.

McConnell said previously he would support the bill if the text reflected the framework.

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