Assaults weapon ban dropped from US gun control bill

The US gun control legislation that would be presented in the Senate next month, will not include ban on assaults weapons, US lawmakers have decided.

Updated: Mar 20, 2013, 12:35 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Washington: The US gun control legislation that would be presented in the Senate next month, will not include ban on assaults weapons, US lawmakers have decided.

US lawmakers have done away with the most controversial part of the gun legislation, that is, assaults weapon ban, fearing that it would put the entire bill at risk of not being taken up in Senate.

The decision was made by Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid who believes that the inclusion of assaults weapon ban would make it difficult to facilitate the passage of the entire gun bill in Senate as the proposal wouldn’t garner enough votes and Republican would manage to block the bill.

The proposal of assaults weapon ban was tossed by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein after a heinous massacre at Newtown school in December last year that killed 26.

Feinstein`s proposal to prohibit military-style weapons will still get a vote as an amendment to the gun legislation that Democrats debate. But she 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.

Reid told reporters that "using the most optimistic numbers," there were less than 40 votes for Feinstein`s ban. That is far less than the 60 votes needed to move contested legislation in the chamber, which has 53 Democrats plus two independents who usually back them.

"I`m not going to try to put something on the floor that won`t succeed. I want something that will succeed. I think the worst of all worlds would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there," Reid said.

Because of the opposition the ban has prompted, its exclusion from the initial package the Senate considers had been expected as a way for Democrats to amass the strongest possible vote for the overall legislation. Having a separate vote on assault weapons might free moderate Democratic senators facing re-election in Republican-leaning states next year to vote against the assault weapons measure, but then support the remaining overall package of gun curbs.

Gun-control supporters also consider a strong Senate vote on an overall bill important because it could put pressure on the Republican-run House, whose leaders have shown little enthusiasm for most of Obama`s proposals.

Foes of Feinstein`s proposal call it a gun grab to take firearms from law-abiding citizens with minimal impact on gun violence. Feinstein and other supporters say limits are needed on the firepower available to people who might make attacks such as the Newtown shootings, which police say involved an assault-type weapon.

Two new state laws to limit ammunition magazines and expand required background checks are to be signed Wednesday by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado, site of another mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Aurora.

Gun-control advocates expressed little surprise over the decision to keep assault weapons out of the initial federal bill.

With Agency Inputs