SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As Lawmakers in Washington hold hearings to address gun violence, support appears to be growing for a bi-partisan gun safety bill. South Dakota’s delegation isn’t ready to comment, but Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “comfortable” with the framework for the legislation.
The deal combines both gun legislation and mental health support. The agreement would boost mental health and school safety funding, enhance background checks for gun buyers under 21, and provide financial incentives for states to pass red flag laws to remove guns from people who could pose a danger.
“Right now people are working hard to put this framework into legislative language,” said Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota. “The goal is to have that done in the coming days, and I hope that we’ll be able to vote to be able to pass this next week.”
A Sioux Falls woman who recently traveled to Washington D.C. for a rally says the framework isn’t perfect, but the provisions will make a difference.
“Any action is better than no action, it will save lives, you know the red flag law is something that could have saved so many lives in these last two decades that we haven’t had any action. For South Dakota alone, most of our gun deaths are suicide and so a red flag law could be really helpful,” said Tiffany Thoelke.
Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead, who is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and people’s rights to protect themselves and their homes says the bipartisan agreement is a big step.
“It’s certainly something that’s got not only law enforcement, but law enforcement and lawful gun owners, watching very closely,” said Milstead.
Tom Hanson: Anything stand out to you, as to what you would like to see?
“Certainly the area around improving schools, security and school safety providing additional support for students you know who may be struggling with mental health issues,” said Milstead.
At least 10 Senate Republicans have, so far, signaled their support, which would be enough to pass it in the Senate. The measure will likely find support in the U.S. House, which has already signaled its support for gun safety legislation.
Senator Mike Rounds’ office sent KELOLAND News the following statement: “The framework has been announced, but actual text hasn’t been shared. The devil is in the details. Since I do not have the text, and since this is a very sensitive area of discussion, I will not have a decision about my support for these suggested measures until we actually see the legislation and have a chance to analyze it. In the meantime, I appreciate the hard work individuals are doing to find long-term solutions to the mental illness and school safety issues we face.”
Senator John Thune’s office tells KELOLAND News he is reserving judgment until there’s actually a bill that can be reviewed.