Harry Reid says assault weapons ban is doomed

It would be an iffy proposition in the Senate to pass a ban on "assault weapons," and would have no chance in the House, says the Majority Leader.


The Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate will not be a free-for-all of new gun regulations following the shooting at Sandy Hook, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Instead, Senators will focus on passing legislation that can move through the Republican-controlled House, Reid said.

That could spell doom for an assault weapons ban. Speaking on Nevada Week In Review, a news show on the PBS affiliate in Las Vegas, Reid said there's no real chance of a new ban passing the House.

"Is it something that can pass the Senate? Maybe. Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it," he said in video of the program provided to TPM by Vegas PBS. "So I think there are things that we know we can do."

The National Rifle Association has praised Reid in the past for his opposition to the assault weapons ban, as well as his support for other legislation favored by the gun lobby.

Though President Obama continues to support reinstating the ban on assault weapons, the gun control crowd has set universal background checks as their chief goal following the Newtown, Conn. massacre.

Reid called on a holistic approach to dealing with gun violence that includes a look at firearms, but he called for a slowed down debate. Gun control proponents have urged politicians to act fast in the wake of Newtown, which has opened up a political conversation about guns not seen in Washington for years.

A conversation about guns may not have happened in Washington for years because there is a broad and deep consensus - illustrated by Reid himself who gets good marks from the NRA - that the Second Amendment means what it says about the right to own firearms. Forty nine states now allow concealed/carry. And it appears that the worst the gun control lobby can do is urge background checks on everyone who buys a gun.

There is hardly a debate anymore about whether an individual American citizen has a constitutional right to own a gun. This is a sea change from attitudes even just a couple of decades ago when banning handguns was discussed seriously and the now outmoded gun laws in places like Chicago and New York were popular.