(WASHINGTON) — The controversial assault weapons ban has been dropped from the Senate Democrats’ gun legislation that they will introduce on the floor of the Senate in April.
The overall bill likely had no chance of passing with an assault weapons ban included. This admission came bluntly by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to try to put something on the floor that won’t succeed; I want something that will succeed — the worst thing in the world would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there,” Reid explained as to why he dropped that part of the bill, at the Ohio Clock stakeout. “I am working to put something together than can get sixty votes on the floor.”
Reid guessed that the measure, sponsored by Sen. Dianne’ Feinstein, D-Calif., using the “most optimistic numbers” had less than 40 votes, far less than the 60 votes needed for passage.
The assault weapons ban will still get a vote, though. The measure will be voted on as a standalone measure as an amendment to the base bill. But stripping it off the base bill leaves it vulnerable and decreases the chance of it passing, as it will not receive the same support that it could have if it was bundled with the other less controversial measures.
Last Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the assault weapons ban bill during their markup of gun legislation.
On Tuesday, Feinstein told reporters she was informed of the decision by the Democratic leadership on Monday night, and was “disappointed” in the decision. She also said that her efforts at the end of the day were not good enough.
The assault weapons ban is just one of the gun measures passed last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee also voted in favor of a bill that enhances school safety along with a background check bill, and a gun trafficking bill tha tmakes “straw” purchasing illegal.
Reid is working to determine what measures will be included in the Senate Democrats’ base bill now and indicated he’d like to get a bill to the floor of the Senate “as soon after recess as I can.” The Senate’s Easter recess concludes on April 7.
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Stephen Collinson, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Marissa Morrison, KIVI