No Assault Weapons Ban: Not in Dems’ Senate Bill

Comments: 0  | Leave A Comment
  • advertisement
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — An assault weapons ban won’t be in the gun-control legislation that Democrats bring to the Senate floor next month, a decision that means the ban’s chances of survival now are all but hopeless.

    The ban is the most controversial firearms restriction that President Barack Obama and other Democrats have pressed for since an assault-type weapon was used in the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Rejection by Congress would be a major victory for the National Rifle Association and its supporters and a setback for Obama and the provision’s sponsor, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

    In a tactical decision, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., concluded that including the prohibition in the gun bill would jeopardize the chances for passage of any firearms legislation at all, taking away votes that would be needed to overcome Republican attempts to block the Senate from even taking up the issue.

    “I very much regret it,” Feinstein said Tuesday of the choice that Reid told her he had made. “I tried my best. But my best, I guess, wasn’t good enough.”

    Feinstein’s proposal to prohibit military-style weapons will still get a vote as an amendment to the gun legislation that Democrats debate. But she is all but certain to need 60 votes from the 100-member Senate to prevail, and she faces solid Republican opposition as well as likely defections from some Democrats.

    Reid told reporters that “using the most optimistic numbers,” there were less than 40 votes for Feinstein’s ban. That is far less than the 60 votes needed to move contested legislation in the chamber, which has 53 Democrats plus two independents who usually back them.

    “I’m not going to try to put something on the floor that won’t succeed. I want something that will succeed. I think the worst of all worlds would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there,” Reid said.

    Because of the opposition the ban has prompted, its exclusion from the initial package the Senate considers had been expected as a way for Democrats to amass the strongest possible vote for the overall legislation. Having a separate vote on assault weapons might free moderate Democratic senators facing re-election in Republican-leaning states next year to vote against the assault weapons measure, but then support the remaining overall package of gun curbs.

    Gun-control supporters also consider a strong Senate vote on an overall bill important because it could put pressure on the Republican-run House, whose leaders have shown little enthusiasm for most of Obama’s proposals.

    Foes of Feinstein’s proposal call it a gun grab to take firearms from law-abiding citizens with minimal impact on gun violence. Feinstein and other supporters say limits are needed on the firepower available to people who might make attacks such as the Newtown shootings, which police say involved an assault-type weapon.

    Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said he hoped an assault weapons ban would pass eventually.

    “We’re still very happy with the progress that’s been made,” he said. “Hopefully what is stripped away will return as an amendment.”

    Two new state laws to limit ammunition magazines and expand required background checks are to be signed Wednesday by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado, site of another mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Aurora.

    Gun-control advocates expressed little surprise over the decision to keep assault weapons out of the initial federal bill.

    1 2 Next page »

    Tags: » »

    • More Related Content

    Comments

    Add Your Comment

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s