Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday announced he supports a bipartisan framework on gun safety and will likely vote for legislation that reflects it.
“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 the weekly Senate GOP conference lunch.
Every Democrat is expected to vote for the legislation.
The bipartisan framework negotiated by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) would provide funding to states to implement laws to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous to themselves and others.
The proposal would also provide billions of dollars for community mental health centers, as well as money to improve school security.
One of its more controversial provisions would be to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to deny firearms to current and former dating partners that are subject to domestic violence restraining orders.
The framework would also clarify the definition of a firearms dealer to require people who sell a high volume of guns to conduct background checks and crack down on the the illegal trafficking of guns by straw purchasers.
The framework calls for giving the national criminal background check system access to the juvenile crime records of gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21 but it does not raise the age for buying AR-15-style rifles, as many Democrats want.
“If this framework becomes the actual legislation, it’s a step forward,” McConnell said Tuesday.
McConnell said passing a bill to respond to mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, would further demonstrate to the American people “that we can come together, which we have done from time to time on things like infrastructure and postal reform, to make progress for the country.”
The GOP leader told reporters that Cornyn presented at the Tuesday Republican lunch a poll of gun owners showing “support for the provisions of the framework is off the charts” and “overwhelming.”
McConnell said the bipartisan group of negotiators “has done the best they can to get total support” and called the proposal to strengthen background check requirements for gun buyers between the age of 18 to 21 “a step in the right direction.”