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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Assault Weapons Ban Approved By Judiciary Committee

Briana Goodall |
March 14, 2013 | 11:49 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


Assault weapons, like this one, may soon be outlawed. (Creative Commons)
Assault weapons, like this one, may soon be outlawed. (Creative Commons)
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the assault weapons ban bill Thursday, but many believe the bill will meet resistance with Republicans and other gun rights supporters on the Senate floor. 

The vote stayed true to party lines. 10 Democrats voted yes, while eight Republicans voted no. 

ALSO SEE: Senator Feinstein Proposes Assualt Weapons Ban

The vote for this bill, which also limits the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, comes on the exact date of the three month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

ALSO SEE: Ban Semi-Automatic Assualt Weapons

ABC News reports that Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican on the committee, believes that the bill, sponsored by California Senator Dianne Feinstein violates the second amendment. He said, " The question that I would pose to the senior senator from California is would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment?"

Feinstein responded by saying,

"I’m not a sixth grader. Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it... The Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture. Congress is in the business of making law. The Supreme Court interprets the law." 

ALSO SEE: Sen. Feinstein Pledges New Gun Control Legislation

The bill would ban semi-automatic weapons that can take a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature, according to Fox News. The ban specifically names 157 weapons, but the measure still allows for rifles and shotguns used by hunters. It also exempts all lawful semi-automatic weapon owners, who have purchased their guns before the bill is enacted. 

ALSO SEE: Obama Unveils New Gun Laws

The committee, according to the New York Times, also passed three other gun measures in the past few weeks. One expands the use of background checks to private gun sales. Another renews a grant program to help schools improve security. The last one would make the already illegal practice of buying a gun for someone who is legally unable to have one a felony. 

These bills along with the assault weapons ban bill are expected to be heard by the Senate in April. 

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of the assualt weapons ban here

Reach Executive Producer Briana Goodall here; follow her here




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