Senate to introduce gun control bill without assault weapons ban
If a ban can't pass the Senate, it certainly won't pass in the House. Consider the assault weapons ban a dead issue, while the ammunition limit is alive and well.
Senate Democratic leaders expect a gun bill to move to the Senate floor that includes most of the proposals backed by President Barack Obama, with the notable exception of a ban on military-style, semiautomatic weapons, a top aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.
The bill would likely seek to limit the capacity of ammunition magazines; expand background checks to include sales at gun shows and other private transactions; and require better record keeping to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illnesses. It would also try to curb gun sales in states with more relaxed gun laws to buyers in states with stricter laws.
But the strategy outline also reflects a growing sense within Democratic ranks that some of the president's most ambitious goals-particularly the call for new bans on certain types of military-style guns often described as assault weapons-may be unrealistic, the Reid aide said.
The goal is to get the bill to the Senate floor next month, at which point lawmakers could then seek to amend the legislation by adding a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons or other provisions, the aide said.
The details provide the first snapshot of how Senate Democrats plan to move forward on major gun legislation in coming weeks.
Even a watered down ban that would include only a few weapons is not likely to pass. The question is, will Harry Reid embarrass the president by bringing an assault weapons ban to a vote? Obama may want a show of hands, thinking he can use it against the GOP in 2014. But if a dozen vulnerable Democrats vote against a ban, he has no case.
A limit on ammunition may garner a few Republican votes and could very well pass in the Senate. But House Republicans are in no mood to give the president much of anything on gun control and it, too, will almost certainly die in conference committee.
That leaves universal background checks. The GOP will try and weaken the provision, but this is the one part of Obama's gun control agenda that is likely to pass in the Senate and could pass the House if it was weakened enough.
After all the build-up, any legislation that gets passed is likely to be fairly meaningless.