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Former President Donald Trump took long-time nemesis Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to task in a post on his Truth Social platform following the Kentucky Republican’s vote with Democrats to advance debate on new federal gun control.
“Mitch McConnell’s push for Republican Senators to vote for Gun Control will be the final straw,” Trump’s post began.
“Just like he gave away the Debt Ceiling and got NOTHING in return, or handed the Dems a great sound bite and victory with the Infrastructure Bill, which is actually all about the Green New Deal, he is now forcing approval of the FIRST STEP IN TAKING AWAY YOUR GUNS! Republican Senators SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR THIS CAREER ENDING BILL!!!” he added.
McConnell was one of 14 Republican senators who signed on with Democrats to begin discussions on new federal gun control legislation that is likely to include an incentive for more states to pass so-called “red flag laws,” which empower courts to order police to remove firearms from persons deemed to be a risk. Critics have lambasted such laws as blatantly unconstitutional, denying persons their due process and gun ownership rights.
To that point, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 last year that police unconstitutionally searched and seized a person’s guns under the auspices of a red flag law.
As for McConnell, he said he supported a bill that was negotiated by one of his top lieutenants, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“I support the bill text that Senator Cornyn and our colleagues have produced,” McConnell said in a statement, according to The Hill. “For years, the far left falsely claimed that Congress could only address the terrible issue of mass murders by trampling on law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights.”
“This bill proves that false,” he continued. “Our colleagues have put together a commonsense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The Hill adds:
McConnell’s support indicates the bill has a chance of garnering support from additional Senate Republicans who had not already endorsed the bill’s framework.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) predicted the legislation would pass and noted that 10 Republican senators signed off on the bipartisan framework underlying the bill earlier this month.
“My assumption is that based on that fact that they had 60 votes for the framework that they’ll have enough to pass,” he said.
In addition to McConnell and Cornyn, the other GOP senators who voted in favor of the legislation were Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, The Washington Times reported.
“The tragedies that have impacted far too many of our communities deserve all of our attention,” Sen. Capito said. “That’s why I have encouraged bipartisan discussions. … My vote this evening is a vote to continue this critically important debate because it’s a debate worth having.”
The National Rifle Association is warning that the legislation, as it is written, could be abused.
“The NRA will support legislation that improves school security, promotes mental health services, and helps reduce violent crime. However, we will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level. It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners,” it said.
“This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms,” the group said.
“Decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Heller and McDonald cases make clear that the Second Amendment is constitutional freedom. We will always fight for those freedoms – and the fundamental values we have defended for over 150 years,” it said.
It was also opposed by 34 Republican Senators including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.
“Here we are voting to move on a bill negotiated entirely behind closed doors, released only an hour ago, that no one has had time to fully read, that ignores the national crime wave and chips away at the fundamental rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said.
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