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McConnell 'Open To Serious Suggestions' On Gun Control

Democrats and Republicans may have found common ground on gun control, or at least one aspect of it.

Amid the uproar over the June 12 massacre at an Orlando nightclub by armed gunman Omar Mateen, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said "nobody wants terrorists to have firearms," The Washington Post reported.

The Kentucky Republican said he's “open to serious suggestions from the experts as to what we might be able to do to be helpful.”

The Republicans' willingness to compromise comes after reports that Mateen was on the FBI's "no-fly list" and had been investigated by the agency for a total of 10 months in 2013 and 2014, when he was suspected of ties to foreign terrorists.

The FBI investigation was eventually closed, with agents citing a lack of evidence, but Mateen remained on the no-fly list and was still listed when he made several trips to a Florida gun shop to purchase a pistol and an assault weapon. Mateen purchased a .223 AR-style Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a Glock 17 9 mm handgun, according to ABC News.

The shooter purchased the rifle on June 4, and took home the handgun on June 9, just three days before he killed 49 people inside Pulse, a gay nightclub.

McConnell wasn't the only Republican willing to listen to ideas on how to prevent would-be killers from getting their hands on firearms. Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted on June 15 that he would meet with the NRA to discuss keeping guns from people who appear on the no-fly list.

An NRA spokesman told CNN the group "believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period."

But while congressional Democrats want to ban anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, the NRA said it supports a protocol which would delay the sale pending clearance by the FBI. If a person is mistakenly on the list, the FBI would give the go-ahead and the sale would go through, but otherwise they would not be able to buy guns.

Because the no-fly list is famously inaccurate -- a judge once ruled it was unconstitutional, and the ACLU is suing the federal government on behalf of 12 people who say they were mistakenly put on the list -- Republicans said they will support "no fly, no buy" legislation once new protocols are put in place to deal with mistakes.

“I just want to make sure that if you’re on by mistake," South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said, "there’s some due process for the person trying to buy a gun."

Sources: The Washington Post, CNN, ABC News / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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