Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the gun agreement worked out by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers during a June 22 speech on the Senate floor.
McConnell said the bill would protect the rights of gun owners while also undercutting gun violence.
In the wake of a school shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead, members of both parties led by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) came together to work out a gun bill that could overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate.
The bill, McConnell said, will “protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The bipartisan group, led on the GOP side by Cornyn, “has put together a package of common sense and popular solutions to make these horrific incidents less likely.”
In addition, McConnell said, the bill “does not so much as touch the rights of the overwhelming majority of American gun owners who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind.”
“I’ve spent my career supporting, defending, and expanding law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” McConnell continued. “The right to bear arms, the right to defend oneself and one’s family, is a core civil liberty.”
Breakdowns in Past Negotiations
Though Democrats have framed the agreement as a surrender on Republicans’ part, McConnell insisted that Democrats, not his party, were to blame for breakdowns in past negotiations.
“There have been attempts at bipartisan talks after horrible incidences in the past,” McConnell said. “But they fell apart when Democrats would not sign onto anything—anything—that did not roll back the Bill of Rights for law-abiding Americans.”
“Well, this time is different,” he continued. “This time the Democrats came our way and agreed to advance some common sense solutions without rolling back rights for law-abiding citizens.
“The result is a product I’m proud to support. It will send more direct funding to community behavioral health centers and for mental health and schools. It will send money, not just to states that decide to implement so-called red flag laws, but to every state, to fund crisis intervention programs of their own choosing.”
By Caden Pearson