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Assault Weapons Ban Removed from Background Check Bill

 

Assault Weapons Ban

After the Slew of shooting and gun-related incidents in the past months, most were hopeful that both democrats and republicans could see the sense in reviving the assault weapons ban. That hope was futile in the end. Three months after the shooting in Sandy Hook, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the ban would essentially be removed from the larger gun control package which was making its way through the upper chamber.

On Tuesday, Reid told reporters that, “using the most optimistic numbers,” the ban sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat of California, will come to the floor with “less than forty” yes votes. If that’s true, it means that of the senators who were on the fence and might theoretically have been persuaded to support the legislation-there may have been as many as fifteen of them, and perhaps more-Feinstein and her allies lost almost every single one.

Reid also mentioned that such a prohibition could be offered on the floor as an amendment, but that it doesn’t have enough support to be included from the start in the main bill.

It’s also possible the firearms bill won’t contain an expansion of background checks to cover private sales. Asked if background checks would make the cut, Senator Reid said he was working toward legislation that could win 60 votes and then noted that “there are a couple different background check proposals floating around.”

For the Obama administration, loss of background checks would constitute a bigger political setback than the no inclusion of the assault weapons ban. The latter has been controversial from the start, among Democrats from gun-culture states as well as Republicans. The former, in contrast, has attracted some bipartisan support and is seen by many experts as the bigger item, both substantively and politically.

Updates:

The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month approved background check legislation drawn up by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York. The bill, S. 374, would require all private gun sales between individuals to be run through the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Sellers would then need to contact a federally licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer to run the background check for them. Although the bill does makes exceptions for transfers between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and grandparents and grandchildren. It also contains language allowing the loan of firearms at a gun range or while hunting or otherwise for a short period of time.

 
 
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