U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) explains the dangers of automatic assault weapons during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington February 27, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's proposal to ban the sale of certain types of military-style assault weapons will not be included in a larger Senate bill aimed at curbing gun violence in America.
On Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he hopes to have a bill to address gun violence on the Senate floor soon after the Easter break, but confirmed that measure will not include the assault weapons ban.
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Sen. Feinstein told reporters that she is disappointed that her assault weapons ban will not be part of a larger bill, but she acknowledged that this will likely make it easier to pass gun-related legislation in the Senate.
Feinstein's proposal would have banned 157 military-style assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines. However, Reid pointed out that Feinstein's measure does not have enough support in the Senate to gain 60 votes in order to be considered by the full Senate.
"Right now, her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That's not 60," he told reporters. "I have to get something on the floor so we can have votes on that issue and the other issues."
Feinstein's ban will be voted on as an amendment to the larger package.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed, because if it was in the package, it would take 60 votes to get it out. You know, the enemies on this are very powerful. I've known that all my life," she said. As an amendment, it will require a majority of Senators to vote to add it to the bill.
Over the past few weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed bills to strengthen federal penalties for trafficking and straw purchases, improve school safety and require national background checks for most firearm purchases. These measures are expected to be considered in some form on the Senate floor.