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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Assault Weapons Ban Out Of Senate Gun Bill

Matt Pressberg |
March 19, 2013 | 6:10 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

A ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 will not be part of a comprehensive gun bill. (robscomputer/Flickr)
A ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 will not be part of a comprehensive gun bill. (robscomputer/Flickr)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that a proposed bill to ban military-style rifles termed assault weapons will not be part of the Senate’s efforts to pass new gun legislation.

According to the Washington Post, Reid said that the proposal has nowhere close to the 60 votes needed to bypass a filibuster and proceed to an up-or-down vote. It does not even have the support of half the Senate necessary to pass the bill (Vice President Joe Biden can break a 50-50 tie) without a filibuster. Looking at “the most optimistic numbers,” according to Reid, an assault-weapons ban has fewer than 40 votes.

As the Washington Post reports:

“The assault-weapons ban is the most ambitious and controversial proposal backed by Obama. Introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the bill would ban almost 160 specific semiautomatic weapons and rifles and assorted military-style parts and also limit the size of ammunition clips to 10 rounds, banning larger rounds used in some of the more recent and brazen mass shootings. The ban has 22 other Senate Democratic co-sponsors, including Feinstein.”

President Bill Clinton signed a federal ban on military-style rifles in 1994, which lapsed 10 years later during the George W. Bush administration and was not renewed. A handful of states in the Northeast and California have put in their own statewide bans, but these types of weapons, which were used in last year’s shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. remain widely available across the United States.

While public support for other proposed gun control measures such as universal background checks has been largely supportive, a ban on assault weapons has been a tougher sell. Opponents of such a ban point at the added layers of government bureaucracy needed to enforce it, and more to the point, the fact that while horrors like Newtown may dominate the news, the overwhelming majority of shootings in Connecticut (and the United States) are committed with handguns.

Read more of Neon Tommy’s coverage of gun control here.

Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.



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