A bipartisan deal in response to mass shootings, particularly the one in Uvalde, Texas, was given a considerable boost on Tuesday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he supports the framework agreement.
There was concern that even with 10 Republican senators on board to negate the filibuster, one of them could balk and kill the proposal.
“For myself, I’m comfortable with the framework and if the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework indicates, I’ll be supportive,” McConnell said during a press conference.
There is still work to be done on the completion of legislative text, but with McConnell’s announcement the deal has gained a significant headwind. President Biden has said the agreement was a step in the right direction, but expressed that it fell short of what he envisioned, especially on the reinstatement of the federal ban on assault weapons like the AK-47 and AR-15 that have been the semi-automatic weapons of choice as well as raising the minimum purchasing age from 18 to 21, issues that were unlikely to meet with Republican approval.
Once the negotiations end and a final draft is produced, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the bill to the floor.
“Make no mistake about it, we have a lot of work left to do before we actually pass a bill, but yesterday’s announcement was a positive and necessary step in the right direction. Now comes the important work of turning this framework into legislation and legislative language that can pass Congress and be signed by the president,” Schumer said on the floor Monday.
As it stands, the agreement provides incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws, which would allow the courts to take guns away from potentially dangerous persons, improve mental health resources, increase funding for school safety resources, and push for stronger measures on licensed gun dealers. Republicans also rejected mandatory safe storage requirements for guns, universal background checks and the ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines.
The National Rifle Association said it will not state its position at the moment and will wait until the legislation is finished. “We will make our position known when the full text of the bill is available for review,” the NRA said in a statement.
Opposition may come from Republicans and conservatives around the closing of the so-called boyfriend loophole, where a federal law currently bars current or former spouses from possessing a weapon if convicted of domestic violence. A provision to close that loophole failed earlier this year because of Republican rejection.