- McConnell says he hopes the bipartisan gun bill will help the GOP 'regain ground' in the suburbs.
- The Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act with 15 GOP votes on Thursday.
- "I hope it will be viewed favorably by voters in the suburbs we need to regain," McConnell said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admits the GOP has "lost ground" in the suburbs and hopes the landmark bipartisan gun bill passed by the Senate will help the party regain its footing among suburban voters before November.
"It is no secret that we have lost ground in suburban areas," McConnell said in a Thursday call with reporters, according to CNN.
"We pretty much own rural and small town America, and I think this is a sensible solution to the problem before us, which is school safety and mental health and, yes, I hope it will be viewed favorably by voters in the suburbs we need to regain in order to hopefully be a majority next year," McConnell added, per CNN.
An unlikely group of four Senators — Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Thom Tillis — achieved a feat some thought was impossible: leading a bipartisan group of 20 Senators in successfully hammering out an agreement on a bipartisan gun safety bill.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is set to pass both chambers of Congress exactly one month after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers. The Uvalde shooting followed another mass shooting in which a gunman targeting Black people killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York.
The bill includes stronger background checks on 18 to 21-year-old gun purchasers, funding for community mental health services and community violence prevention, funds to bolster school safety, and federal incentives for states to pass "red flag" laws.
It also closes the "boyfriend loophole" in prohibiting those convicted of abusing their dating partners and not just their spouse from purchasing firearms.
Murphy, a longtime advocate for gun safety laws, says Sinema's optimism and determination were key to the process. McConnell and his counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, also gave the bipartisan negotiators a wide berth to come to an agreement.
"I've tried every tactic in the book to get this body to act and I've never been successful. And so I have a bit of PTSD about negotiations. Kyrsten just was convinced from the very start that this was possible," Murphy told Politico. "We needed that."
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed the US Senate on Thursday with the votes of all 50 Senate Democrats and 15 Republicans. The US House is taking up the bill on Friday and is set to vote on final passage in the afternoon, sending it to President Joe Biden's desk.