All but ending chances for an “assault weapons” ban, Democrat leaders said Tuesday the firearms legislation the Senate will debate next month will not include the provision that gun-control advocates pressed for after falsely claiming an “assault-type weapon” was used in the Newtown school shootings in December.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he wanted to bring a gun bill to the full Senate that would have enough support to overcome any GOP attempts to prevent debate from even starting. He expressed concern that including the assault weapons provision might effectively block passage of any bill at all.
Instead, the sponsor of the provision, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said she will offer her ban on the military-style firearms as an amendment. But Feinstein 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.
“I very much regret it,” Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters of Reid’s decision. “I tried my best.”
Reid said that “using the most optimistic numbers,” there were less than 40 votes for Feinstein’s ban. That is far less than the 60 needed to begin considering legislation.