According to NBC News, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told California Sen. Dianne Feinstein on March 19 that assault weapons and high capacity magazines will not be included in the final gun control package that is expected to come to a vote on the Senate floor in April.
Feinstein expressed her disappointment to the media. She said:
People say well, are you disappointed? Obviously I'm disappointed. The enemies on this are very powerful. I've known that all my life.
The move to drop a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines is a major blow for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who has tried to push stricter gun control legislation since the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn that claimed the lives of 20 elementary students and six adults.
According to NBC News, the Senate has insisted it will still vote for the ban, but only as an amendment to the much larger gun control package. Feinstein has also asked for a second vote on the high capacity magazine ban.
Senate Democrats, which holds in advantage in the U.S. Senate, hopes that dropping the assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban will help the bill garner more support. Still in the bill are broaden background checks for gun buyers, school safety measures and measures to make gun trafficking and straw purchasing a felony, which would be punishable by up to 25 years in federal prison.
Congress adopted an assault weapons ban in 1994 under former President Bill Clinton, but decided not to renew it in 2006.