The compromises announced hours earlier, including giving funding to states that impose so-called red flag laws, “show the value of dialogue and cooperation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
McConnell after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 asked Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to work with Democrats to come up with legislation that would address what he sees as issues with the current system.
McConnell said he was glad Cornyn and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) “are continuing to make headway in their discussions,” adding, “I appreciate their hard work on this important issue.”
He also signaled that he has not yet decided whether to back the proposal, which has yet to be outlined in a bill.
“I continue to hope their discussions yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the Second Amendment, earns broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country,” McConnell said.
Cornyn and Murphy, along with nine senators each from their respective parties, said they reached “a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country.” According to the group, the proposal includes requiring a period of investigation for any prospective gun buyers under the age of 21, penalties for criminals “who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns,” and funding for safety measures at schools.
The Democrats and nominal independents in the group in addition to Murphy are Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D- N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
The Republicans in the group in addition to Cornyn are Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
Legislation in the Senate needs 60 or more votes to bypass the filibuster. The upper chamber currently has 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats and nominal independents who regularly caucus with the Democrats.
Besides the GOP members who helped hammer out the agreement, few have commented on the announcement, and none have appeared to signal opposition to it.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), one of the few, said in a statement: “I will always stand on the side of the Second Amendment, law-abiding Americans, due process, and justice. Those who commit acts of rampage violence are criminals who must be stopped. I look forward to reviewing this legislation.”
Many Democrat senators, on the other hand, said they’d back the legislation, even as they work for more restrictions.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said he was looking forward to working with colleagues “to shape and pass this commonsense legislation,” adding, “Make no mistake, this is only the tip of the iceberg on what Congress can and *must* do to end gun violence.”
“We have an opportunity to both reduce gun violence in our communities and improve our mental health systems, and we must take it,” Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said. “More is needed, but these reforms will save lives and improve public safety.”