Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Praises Modest Bipartisan Gun Agreement as 'Progress for the Country'

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Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Sen. Mitch McConnell

Sen. Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he supports enacting modest gun safety regulations at the federal level, one of the strongest indications yet that Americans' attitudes toward gun reform are rapidly changing after two high-profile mass shootings in May stunned the nation.

The Kentucky Republican, who currently serves as the Senate minority leader, revealed his stance on the issue in response to Sunday's news that 10 Democratic and 10 Republican senators had come to an agreement on a gun safety proposal.

"If this framework becomes the actual piece of legislation, it's a step forward, a step forward on a bipartisan basis," McConnell said, according to the Associated Press. The proposal was drafted after several days of negotiations between lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and while it's relatively narrow in scope, its significance is undeniable.

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Bipartisan, federal measures have been attempted in the past without much success. Just four months after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, the Manchin-Toomey amendment — which would have required background checks on all commercial gun sales — failed, getting only 54 of the 60 votes it needed to overcome a filibuster.

McConnell said this new proposal is an example of lawmakers working together "to make progress for the country" — and with his support, progress is much more likely.

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According to McConnell, senators were provided with GOP polling data that revealed "off the charts, overwhelming" support among gun owners for the provisions laid out in the bipartisan proposal.

In addition to recommending moderate gun restrictions — like a mandated review of juvenile and mental health records for gun buyers under 21 — the proposal includes investment for expanded mental health services and safety measures in schools, protections for victims of domestic violence, and resources for states to create so-called "red flag" laws, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of those determined by courts to be a danger to themselves or others.

To express your opinion on gun reform proposals to your own representatives in Congress, you can look them up and contact them here: congress.gov/members