NAPO Washington Reports

Assault Weapons Legislation fails for now

March 21, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters this week that he would not have been able to get a gun control bill to the Senate floor if it included the assault weapon ban.

Reid explained that the decision to move a bill without an assault weapon ban was made because otherwise there would not have been 60 votes. He said members will still be able to vote on the assault weapon ban through an amendment.

“Dianne has worked so hard on this,” Reid said, referring to the ban's sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “I know that, but right now her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That’s not 60. I have to get something on the floor so we can have votes on that issue and the other issues.”

Sen. Feinstein says she won’t “lay down and play dead” on an assault weapons ban after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed the California Democrat’s measure won’t be part of the Senate Democratic gun control plan.

“This is very important to me. And I’m not going to lay down and play dead. I think the American people have said in every single public poll that they support this kind of legislation. It’s aimed to protect children, to protect schools and malls. … Not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust, as I would see it,” Feinstein said Tuesday on CNN.

Reid told Feinstein on Monday that her gun control proposal — which included an assault weapons ban — would not be part of the Democrat’s gun control legislation but could be offered as an amendment on the Senate floor.

Feinstein said on CNN that Reid told her she would have “an opportunity for a vote” on the issue.

“What Sen. Reid told me is that I would have an opportunity for a vote. I take him at his word. I told him also that it would be my intention to separate out the prohibition on the future manufacture, transfer, sales, possession of large ammunition-feeding devices of more than 10 bullets,” Feinstein said. “I asked him if this could be part of a package. He said, ‘No.’ And I took away from that meeting the belief that we would have a vote on the full bill, and a vote on ammunition-feeding devices of more than 10 bullets.”