Here are the 10 Senate Republicans who are backing the bipartisan gun bill
A bipartisan group of senators announced a deal Sunday on framework legislation to address a recent surge in gun violence in the U.S.
The proposed legislation includes funding for school safety resources, strengthened background checks for buyers under the age of 21, incentives for states to implement their own red flag laws, penalties for straw purchases of firearms and increased protections for domestic violence victims.
The bipartisan group was made up of 20 senators, including 10 GOP lawmakers, many of whom are strong supporters of gun rights and political allies of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA).
With support from those 10 Republicans, the legislation likely has the votes to overcome the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.
Here are the Senate Republicans who are backing the bipartisan gun reform legislation.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Cornyn was among the initial group of nine lawmakers who began discussing gun legislation after the mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school last month that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appointed Cornyn as the GOP’s lead negotiator in the talks.
“The tragedies in Uvalde and elsewhere cried out for action,” Cornyn said in a tweet Sunday amid news of the bipartisan deal.
“I worked closely with my colleagues to find an agreement to protect our communities from violence while also protecting law-abiding Texans’ right to bear arms.”
Cornyn, who has an “A-plus” rating from the NRA, had previously offered assurances that he would not support any legislation that restricted gun rights.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
Tillis also played an early role in the gun violence negotiations. He said he was not willing to support raising the age limit of purchasing AR-15–style rifles to 21 years of age, which is high on the Democratic wish list.
Shortly after the Uvalde shooting, Tillis warned against blaming mass shootings on the proliferation of guns in America.
“It’s horrible. And you know what we need to avoid is the reflexive reaction we have to say this could all be solved by not having guns in anyone’s hands,” he said, according to CNN.
“We can always talk about reasonable measures, but we also have to talk about better situational awareness. I’m almost certain that in the coming days or weeks, we’re going to find out that there were signs that this person was at risk.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
Blunt, who is retiring from his Senate seat at the end of this year, worked with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on mental health provisions in the framework package, such as national funding for mental health clinics that will provide 24/7 mental health crisis responses among other services.
“We want to be sure that mental health care is not only available, but that we are encouraging people to seek care without the fear of stigmatization. This bipartisan proposal builds on the progress we have made and ensures community-based access points to care will be available over the long term,” Blunt said in a statement on Sunday.
“It will help keep people safe while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, and I urge our colleagues to give it their full consideration.”
Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
Portman recently told NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV that keeping firearms away from dangerous individuals and implementing safety measures at schools were his focuses in the talks.
“We have the opportunity to do something [addressing mental and behavioral health] that we should be doing anyway,” he said.
Portman also noted he doesn’t want to infringe on citizens who abide by gun laws. He also expressed interest in making juvenile records more accessible in systems used to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms.
Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Burr, who is also retiring this year, has received nearly $7 million in donations from the NRA, according to data from Brady United, placing him second among GOP senators behind Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
Asked about Democratic gun control proposals following the Uvalde shooting, Burr didn’t say specifically what he opposed or supported.
“If somebody’s got a solution to this, by all means, let’s talk about it,” Burr said. “But nobody’s proposed that they’ve got one.”
Mitt Romney (R-Utah)
Romney, who received more than $13.5 million in donations from the NRA, said in a tweet after the Uvalde shooting that “we must find answers” to the issue.
In a statement on Sunday, he said, “Families deserve to feel safe and secure in their communities.”
“Proud to join my colleagues on this commonsense, bipartisan proposal that will save lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. It deserves broad support.”
Romney has regularly opposed Democratic-proposed gun control measures, though he said in 2018 that he was open to considering “more effective background checks.”
Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
Cassidy said he was open to discussion on gun reform legislation in the aftermath of the Uvalde school massacre.
Among the initial group of nine lawmakers, Cassidy suggested that red flag laws and expanded background checks were not the right solution to the problem.
“Senator Cassidy will always be an advocate for law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” Cassidy’s spokesperson Ty Bofferding said in a statement to the Daily Advertiser last month.
“Cassidy is open to conversations about solutions that will actually work to prevent these kinds of mass shootings. Unfortunately, expanded background checks or red flag laws, as Democrats are proposing as a solution, would not have prevented the tragedy in Texas.”
Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Collins previously said she would like to see red flag laws, which have already been enacted in her state of Maine, be part of the bipartisan proposal.
“I believe that we should look at enacting a red flag law based on the one we have in Maine, which has due process rights and involves a medical professional in the decision,” she said last month. “I don’t know the details of the shooter, but it’s hard to believe he wasn’t mentally ill.”
Collins also expressed her support for creating a process for keeping firearms away from those who suffer from mental health issues.
“I really think our focus should be on looking at what the states have done, what some states have done on red flag or yellow flag laws,” she added.
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Graham has suggested that retired and former military members should provide armed security at schools, joining a chorus of GOP voices calling to “harden” schools against threats.
“I will be working to create a certification process that allows former military members to go through school security training and become available to school districts throughout the country,” Graham said in a Twitter thread last month.
“It is time to mobilize our retired and former service members who are willing to help secure our schools. Our schools are soft targets,” Graham added. “They contain our most valuable possession — our children, the future of our country — and must be protected.”
Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
Toomey recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he wants to ensure background checks on all firearm sales.
“I certainly remain committed to the idea of the principle of the policy of expanding background checks to cover all commercial sales,” Toomey said last month. “I would also point out that even though we fell short, I think it’s the only measure that had bipartisan support — probably the only one, or one of the few, that would have it now.”
Toomey first introduced an expanded background check legislation alongside Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, but the bill failed to reach the 60-vote filibuster threshold.
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