Anti-gun California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is wearing a long face today after learning from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that her coveted ban on so-called “assault weapons” will not be part of the Democrats’ gun control package in April.
According to the Associated Press and Washington Times, she may offer the ban as an amendment to a broader package, but chances of its passage are slim to none. It was similar to the fate of gun ban legislation in Olympia earlier this year, sponsored by perennial gun prohibitionist Senators Adam Kline, Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Ed Murray, all Seattle liberal Democrats.
Word of this latest setback for one of the U.S. Senate’s most ardent anti-gunners comes perhaps not coincidentally with reports that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also shifted his attention away from banning guns to broadening background checks. This column discussed the development, noting that Bloomberg has acknowledged that rifles of any kind are used in only a fraction of the nation’s murders each year.
What sank the Kline legislation was the revelation that it contained a long-standing tenet to allow warrantless searches of private residences by sheriffs’ deputies. More recently, the background check measure sponsored by Seattle Democrat Rep. Jamie Pedersen also was derailed when key tenets required by gun owners were put aside while an exemption for law enforcement was added.
In Feinstein’s case, the bill was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on a purely partisan 10-8 vote, and at the time it did not appear likely that the measure, which targeted more than 150 specific firearms, would get a nod from the full Senate.
With this new gun control setback, it appears far more likely that anti-gunners will focus all of their energy on background check legislation, because it appears that is one measure that has the broadest support.
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