The Assault Weapons Ban Ain’t Dead Yet

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/americanprogressaction/4972152658/">Center for American Progress Action Fund</a>/Flickr

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On Monday, Harry Reid told a disappointed Dianne Feinstein that her assault weapons ban, which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, wouldn’t be in the gun control legislation Democrats are preparing for the full Senate because it had insufficient support to get past a filibuster. But Thursday night, Reid said in a statement, “I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes” as amendments to the bill.

The bill moving forward now will include the provisions on background checks, school safety, and gun trafficking, Reid said. The universal background check provision was also controversial, passing out of committee on a party-line vote, but Reid signaled that wasn’t satisfactory. He is hopeful that negotiations during the upcoming Senate break will lead to a compromise that attracts bipartisan support for the measure, which has overwhelming support from the American public. “In order to be effective,” Reid said, “any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks.” West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, a member of the National Rifle Association who expressed tepid support for gun control after Newtown, will reportedly lead the compromise effort.

Reid said the legislation will be added to the Senate calendar Thursday night to allow for a vote in early April. After opening debate, the assault weapons ban amendments will be introduced, in line with the Obama administration’s continued commitment to keep it aliveBut as Reid noted earlier in the week, even using “the most optimistic numbers,” Feinstein’s amendment had fewer than 40 votes.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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