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Capito Watching as Senators Work on Gun Control Deal

photo by: Bloomberg Photo

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Thursday she will support bipartisan gun control legislation before Congress.

CHARLESTON – U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is waiting to see what kind of bipartisan deal for a gun control package in the Senate can be reached before expressing where she stands.

Capito, R-W.Va., said on her weekly virtual briefing with reporters Thursday afternoon she is watching the negotiations between a small group of Republican and Democratic senators.

“I know this is of huge interest to everybody at home,” Capito said. “I haven’t been commenting on any of the specifics because I want to see the negotiations go forward. I think there is a will to get something, and I think that’s very encouraging.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, have been leading the negotiations for the Democratic majority and Republican minority. A deal was expected by the end of this week, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has given his blessing to let negotiations continue until a deal can be reached.

A deal is not likely to have all the things Democratic lawmakers want, but a Senate bill could include some form of incentives for states to adopt red flag laws that would block gun sales and allow for the confiscation of guns from individuals who trigger the red flag, such as people charged with domestic violence or people being held for mental hygiene evaluations. Another possible compromise could include enhanced background checks that would include juvenile records.

“There are a lot of Republicans and Democrats having discussions on a lot of different points; mental health, other kinds of school hardening, and other issues,” Capito said. “I think that what you see with Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Murphy from the Democrat side, they’re working together to try to find the reasonable areas that can be agreed upon and that can actually make a difference.”

Any agreement in the Senate would require 60 votes, or 10 Republicans voting with the Democrats, to even be considered. The U.S. House of Representatives passed Wednesday evening along party lines a broad gun control package, including raising the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 and outlawing high-capacity magazines among other restrictions.

The bill is not expected to garner enough support in the Senate to be considered.

“I think that bill that was passed out of the House basically on party lines is a good example of how not to get a result,” Capito said. “I want to find something that will be a solution, and I think that’s what we’re moving towards in the Senate hopefully. But in the House, it just went too far and, and then it just devolves into a partisan area that nothing gets done and that’s concerning.”

The momentum for a bill has grown after two mass shootings last month. An 18-year-old gunman killed 21 people, including 19 children, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The attack followed a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., where a young gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also is part of the bipartisan Senate group working on a gun control compromise. He told CNN Monday that he would support raising the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle, but he was open to other ideas.

“It depends on what they, how they would approach it,” Manchin said. “I’m open to anything that makes gun sense.”

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