McConnell states support for Senate gun safety legislation

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday said he’s likely willing to vote for gun legislation based on a recent bipartisan framework, signaling Congress could act in the wake of recent mass shootings. 

“Myself, I’m comfortable with the framework, and if the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework indicates, I’ll be supportive of it,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

McConnell also in his remarks said that individual members will decide how they vote based on the views of their states. That comment appears to be a nod to the fact most Senate Republicans are expected to oppose the framework. Many say they have concerns any new federal legislation could violate Americans’ Second Amendment or due process rights.

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McConnell is no stranger to supporting bills that most of his members oppose. The GOP leader last year supported the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate with the support of just 19 of 50 Senate Republicans. 

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, led negotiations on the bipartisan gun deal at the behest of McConnell. He and nine other Republican senators, along with 10 Democrats, announced an agreement on a framework for a bill Sunday. 

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 4, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 4, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

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“Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” the group said in a statement. 

It’s not clear how many Republicans will support the final version of the proposed legislation. That is likely to depend on whether there are disputes about specific legislative language as members draft the bill. 

A banner hangs at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School on Friday, June 3.

A banner hangs at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School on Friday, June 3. (AP/Eric Gay)

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Senate talks on gun legislation began in the wake of several mass shootings in recent weeks, including one in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two adults. There was also a racially motivated mass shooting in a Buffalo supermarket, which killed 10 people. 

Most recently, three people were killed and one injured in a Thursday shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland. A man opened fire inside a break room at a Columbia Machine factory.