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Mitch McConnell says he's 'comfortable' with bipartisan gun safety deal

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Mitch McConnell says he's 'comfortable' with bipartisan gun safety deal
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he was "comfortable with the framework" of a bipartisan deal on legislation to improve gun safety and mental health support. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

June 14 (UPI) -- Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday indicated he would support a bipartisan deal on gun safety and mental health support.

McConnell said during his weekly press conference that he would likely lend his vote to the deal announced by a group of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats on Sunday.

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"I'm comfortable with the framework and if the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework indicates, I'll be supportive," he said.

The package, negotiated by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, includes federal grants for states to create and administer so-called "red flag" laws that allow authorities to keep firearms away from individuals found to be threats to themselves or others.

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It also provides funding for mental health services for children and families through both schools and telehealth, while also tightening gun laws -- including requiring an investigative review period of juvenile and mental health records for people younger than 21 seeking to purchase a firearm.

It does not, however, include a provision supported by President Joe Biden and other Democrats to raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 years old that was included in a bill passed by the Democrat-led House last week.

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A total of 60 votes would be required to pass the measure with the Senate split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.

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Every Democrat is expected to vote in favor of the package, while McConnell is the 11th Republican to voice public support.

During the press conference Tuesday, McConnell said that Cornyn presented a poll of gun owners showing that "support for the provisions of the framework is off the charts."

"I think if this framework becomes the actual piece of legislation, it's a step forward, a step forward on a bipartisan basis, and further demonstrates 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," he said.

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