Assault Weapons Ban Won't be in Dems' Gun Bill - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Assault Weapons Ban Won't be in Dems' Gun Bill

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The sponsor of a proposed assault weapons ban says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told her that the ban will not be part of the initial gun control measure the Senate will debate next month.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says that instead of being included in the measure, the ban will be offered as an amendment.

The decision, which was expected, means that the ban seems to stand little chance of surviving because of expected solid opposition from Republicans and likely defections from some moderate Democrats.

The ban was one of four gun control measures approved this month by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The others would expand required federal background checks for firearms buyers, increase federal penalties for illegal gun trafficking and boost school safety money.

Opponents say barring the guns would violate the right to bear arms and have little overall impact because assault weapons are involved in small percentages of gun crimes.

Feinstein's bill would ban semi-automatic weapons - guns that fire one round and automatically reload - that can take a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature like a pistol grip.

It specifically bans 157 named weapons. In an effort to avoid antagonizing those who use them for sports, the measure allows 2,258 rifles and shotguns that are frequently used by hunters.

It also exempts any weapons that are lawfully owned whenever the bill is enacted.

The House's Republican leaders have said they'll wait for the Senate to act before moving on legislation. They've not expressed support for an assault weapons ban.

They have discussed improving how states report data on people with serious mental health and drug abuse problems to the federal background check system. Both parties see that as a major flaw that needs to be fixed.

Senator Harry Reid says, "I have said time and time again I want people to have the ability vote on assault weapons, mental health, safety in schools, federal trafficking, clips - everything. But I cannot do that until I get on the floor and it has been very clear that republicans want us to have bills coming to the floor that have gone through committee. The Judiciary Committee has held hearings and they have held hearings on a number of different pieces of legislation. My job is to find one of those that I can bring to the floor, or two of them, that have at least been through the committee and that I can get 60 votes to proceed to that. We cannot have votes on everything unless I get something on the floor. It is a legislative impossibility."

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