Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told at a press-conference that she is disappointed that her assault weapons ban won’t become a part of a larger bill, but admitted that it will likely make it easier to pass gun-related legislation through the Senate, USA Today reports.
Feinstein said that the Senate Majority Leader told her Monday the ban on certain types of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would not be part of package of bills that would make up the Senate legislation.
Reid explained that Feinstein’s plan simply did not have enough support to clear the floor and could not pass the 60-vote threshold needed 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.”
Over the past two weeks the Senate Judiciary Committee passed three other measures, in addition to the assault weapons ban, that are expected to be considered in some form on the Senate floor.
As reports claim, these introduced measures include bills to strengthen federal penalties for trafficking and straw purchases, improve school safety and require background checks for nearly every firearm purchase.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, because if was in the package, it would take 60 votes to get it out,” revealed Feinstein, whose ban will be voted on as an amendment to the larger package.
“You know, the enemies on this are very powerful. I’ve known that all my life,” she added. As an amendment, it will require a majority of Senators to vote to add it to the bill.
Feinstein reintroduced the ban in January in the wake of the mass shooting of dozens of people at an elementary school Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.
“It’s heartbreaking that this tragic incident can’t get some common sense laws passed, such as the assault weapons ban,” said Jim Wiltsie, whose cousin, Victoria Soto, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, died trying to protect her students on Dec. 14.
“It’s a weapon designed for the battlefield and the battlefield only,” Wiltsie said. “Apparently the gun lobbyists and gun companies have a lot of power still.”
Reid’s decision came just 20 days after father Neal Heslin, whose 7-year-old son, Jesse, was killed at Sandy Hook, tearfully pleaded for an assault weapons ban at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing.
“Some guns just don’t have any place in the hands of civilians,” Heslin told the panel. “The assault weapons we’re talking about today, their sole purpose is to put a lot of lead out in a battlefield quickly. That’s what they do. That’s what they did at Sandy Hook Elementary. That wasn’t a killing — it was a massacre.”
It wasn’t clear when exactly the full package of bills will be introduced, but they are expected to be voted on as early as April.
When asked Tuesday about the progress on the gun issue in the House, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said, “There’s nothing new on that front right now.”
“We are hard at work looking at enforcement of current gun-control laws, but we are really focused on immigration right now,” he added.