Assault Weapons Proposal Abandoned
Harry Reid, leader of the Democratic Senate, announced that the proposed ban on “assault weapons” pushed by Diane Feinstein will be dropped from the gun control measures to be voted on by the Senate, as it severely lacked the votes to pass. Feinstein is contemplating trying to push the ban through as an amendment to whatever bill passes, although it’s very unlikely that the amendment would have a better chance than the initial ban plan did.
Reid said that fewer than 40 senators supported the ban, and, with the Democrats holding a majority, that means not even the Left was firmly behind the proposition. Feinstein’s ban, aiming to block the sales of “military style weapons” and “large capacity magazines,” was widely panned by the GOP, many rural-area Democratic senators (at least 15 and possibly more, if Reid’s claim of less than 40 votes is true), and an enormous number of American voters, who felt that their liberties were being threatened.
BBC News quotes Feinstein as saying that she “tried her best” to push the legislation through, but the ban barely even passed a small Senate panel last week, all but assuring that there was no chance it would ever make it to an actual Senate floor vote. The last similar assault weapons ban, also put together by the very liberal Feinstein, expired around nine years ago when George W. Bush was in office. That ban had only passed due to heavy amounts of political arm twisting by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and still only achieved the needed majority vote by one, passing 61-38. The new Feinstein proposal was more severe than that one, and most political pundits and experts thought that it didn’t have a chance from the day it was first announced.
Some of the criticisms of the ban revolved around its heavy reliance on the aesthetic qualities of weapons (guns with “thumbhole stocks” would have been banned, for example, even though that feature doesn’t actually impact the gun’s usability, as would guns with “one military aspect,” such as a bayonet or detachable magazine) and that its “large capacity magazine” rules were nonsensical (a magazine that held nine rounds would be acceptable, but 10 wouldn’t be—as though a single extra round would make a difference if a deranged individual was intent on hurting others).
In the end, the GOP, the NRA, hunters, and gun enthusiasts are all celebrating this as a minor victory (the other gun control measures in the bill, such as more extensive background checks, still stand, although there seems to be much less resistance to those rules). Feinstein, however, seems intent on continuing to work towards banning the weapons that she feels are responsible for the deaths of too many innocents.