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McConnell 'comfortable' with current gun safety framework – with a caveat

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP
/
AP
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters following a closed-door policy lunch, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Kentucky Republican's endorsement Tuesday boosted momentum for modest but notable election-year action by Congress on an issue that’s deadlocked lawmakers for three decades.

An outline of the accord was released Sunday by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Leaders hope it can be translated into legislation in days and voted on by Congress before lawmakers' July 4 recess.

"For myself, I'm comfortable with the framework and if the legislation ends of reflecting what the framework indicates, I'll be supportive."
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

But that’s a big “if” for skeptics who see a deal on the politically sensitive issue as fragile.

The proposed framework includes expanded background checks for people under 21 and more resources for schools, law enforcement, and mental health resources.

McConnell said polling shows a vast majority of gun owners supporting the framework of the ongoing talks.

"Support for the provisions of the framework is off the charts, overwhelming," he told reporters. "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."

McConnell’s backing was the latest indication that last month’s gun massacres in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, had reconfigured the political calculations for some in the GOP.