As Real Clear Politics reported Tuesday, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to strike the proposal to ban assault weapons from the gun control bill the Senate plans to debate next month.
The bill -- “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013,” introduced by California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, co-sponsored by 21 fellow Democrat senators and backed by Obama -- would ban nearly 160 specific semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines while limiting the size of ammunition clips to 10 rounds.
"I very much regret it," The Washington Post quoted Feinstein telling reporters of Reid's decision not to include her measure. "I tried my best."
Feinstein, whose website touts her as the “author of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban” -- which Congress allowed to expire in 2004 -- also sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2004, which was “read the second time” on June 4, 2004 and “placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders,” but received “no Roll Call votes.”
“The enemies on this are very powerful; I’ve known that all my life,” The Washington Post quoted of Feinstein’s effort to blame the National Rifle Association for the second failure of her ongoing efforts to reinstate her expired assault weapons ban. “But I’m confident this bill would be constitutional.”
"The Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," Fox News quoted freshman Texas Republican and fellow Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Ted Cruz informing Feinstein March 15. He then asked her whether the First Amendment should "only apply" to certain books or if the Fourth Amendment should only protect certain people from unreasonable searches.
As Examiner reported Feb. 21, SB 5737, “Banning the sale of assault weapons” -- a bill sponsored by Democrat Washington State Sens. Kohl-Welles, Ed Murray and Adam Kline included language that allowed police to conduct yearly inspections of private homes to ensure that assault weapons were properly stored in order for residents “to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date” of the bill.
While all three Washington State Democrat senators eventually admitted the language in the bill that allowed home searches was an "error" -- and that they would not have sponsored the measure had they known the language was included -- all three supported bills with identical language in the past.
During her heated exchange with Cruz, Feinstein informed him that her bill also "exempts 2,271 weapons."
Isn't that enough?
However, many of Feinstein’s “enemies” seem to include fellow Senate Democrats who apparently don’t think it’s “enough.”
Senate rules require at least 60 votes for a bill’s passage. However -- as The Washington Post quoted Reid telling reporters Tuesday -- “using the most optimistic numbers,” the bill “has less than 40 votes. That’s not 60.”
The Washington Post added that aids familiar with the ongoing gun-control negotiations said Reid is now trying to decide whether to fuse three other bills approved last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- a Democrat proposal to expand the nation’s gun background check program and two bipartisan measures, one to make gun trafficking a federal crime and the other to expand a Justice Department grant program that provides funding for school security -- into one wide-ranging package or to hold separate votes on each measure.
His decision will be based on whether one or all of the measures would receive enough support to ensure passage in the Senate.
“I want people to have the ability to vote on assault weapons, mental health, safety in schools, federal trafficking, clips — everything,” The Washington Post quoted Reid telling reporters Tuesday.
But I cannot do that until I get a bill on the floor, and it’s been very clear that the Republicans want us to have bills coming to the floor that have gone through committee.
“This is very important to me and I'm not going to lay down and play dead,” Feinstein insisted during Tuesday’s CNN interview -- posted by Real Clear Politics -- noting further that her bill “came out on a 10-8 vote of the Judiciary Committee.”
Not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust.
However, to give her "a vote on this" could prove to be a major defeat.
As The Hill reported in January, vulnerable Senate Democrats “from conservative, heavily rural states who are up for reelection in 2014” have already indicated they would oppose gun-control measures.
Senate rules say the bill needs 60 votes to pass. Reid said the bill has "less than 40 votes."
According to Senate.gov, the United States Senate is comprised of 55 Democrats, 45 Republicans and two independents, whom Real Clear Politics said normally vote with Democrats. That means at least 15 Democrats -- and the two traditionally Democrat-loyal independents -- oppose Feinstein’s bill.