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Assault weapons ban dropped from gun bill

1:36 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
A Bush Master AR15 assault rifle, similar to the weapon used in the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
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Jackie Kucinich, USA TODAY

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Tuesday she is disappointed that Senate Democratic leaders are dropping her proposed assault weapons ban from a broader gun bill, but she said it will likely make it easier to pass gun-related legislation through the Senate.

Feinstein told reporters that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told her Monday afternoon that the ban on certain types of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would not be part of package of bills that would make up the Senate legislation.

Feinstein said the implication from Reid was that her measure could be used to derail the entire Senate effort if it was included in the larger bill. Instead, the ban will be voted on as an amendment to the larger package.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed because if was in the package, it would take 60 votes to get it out. You know, the enemies on this are very powerful. I've known that all my life," she said.

Feinstein reintroduced the ban in January as a response to the mass shooting of 20 children and six adults Dec. 14 at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

While acknowledging her own bill would face an uphill climb as an amendment, she said she held out hope that a proposal by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to ban high-capacity magazines could be voted on as a separate amendment to the bill.

Even if the full Senate legislation does get through, Feinstein said, the fight is far from over.

"Then we face the wonderful House of Representatives," she quipped.

It was unclear when the full package of bills will be released, but they are likely to be voted on as early as April.

The path in the Republican-controlled House remains even murkier.

Asked Tuesday about the progress on the gun issue in the House, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said, "There's nothing new on that front right now."

"We are hard at work looking at enforcement of current gun-control laws, but we are really focused on immigration right now," he said.

USA TODAY

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