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Sen. Angus King hopeful gun control compromise can make it through Senate

Angus King
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, arrives for a Democratic policy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

Maine Independent Sen. Angus King says the gun safety measure outlined on Sunday is "a positive step."

It would be the first major piece of gun control legislation in 25 years.

"Well, I don't think there's much question after Buffalo and Uvalde, people just felt there had to be something done. That. that, these mass shootings are just too much," he says.

The proposal, which has not been written into legislative text, includes money to encourage states to pass and implement so-called "red flag" laws to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, money for school safety and mental health resources, expanded background checks for gun purchases for people between the ages of 18 and 21 and penalties for illegal straw purchases by convicted criminals.

The agreement has the support of at least 20 senators who worked closely over the past several weeks to find the areas of common ground that could pass the closely divided Senate. The group includes 10 Republicans, meaning a final bill could potentially garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

King says there's always a possibility the final language could "spook" some gun rights supporters in the Senate.

But King says the outline agreed to is pretty detailed, and thus, likely to hold on to the GOP votes needed to get through the Senate.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is one of the ten Republicans who've pledged their support for the compromise legislation.

In a written statement, Collins and King called the provisions a "commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country."

NPR contributed reporting.