Senate Gun Bill May Not Touch Assault Weapons

 Democratic leaders in the Senate are planning to introduce a more realistic bill. Most of President Obama’s proposals would be covered in the bill, with the exception of the controversial assault weapons ban.

Senate Democrats are hoping to put a gun control bill on the floor by next month—but it’s not likely to include the assault-weapon ban President Obama has urged, a Harry Reid aide tells the Wall Street Journal. Outside of that, however, it would cover most of the measures the president has supported, including a limit on ammunition magazine capacity; gun-show and private-transaction background checks; a crackdown on sales to people with mental illnesses; and measures restricting sales to out-of-state consumers seeking to take advantage of weaker gun laws.

As for the assault weapon ban, Democrats fear it may be biting off more than they can chew. But once the bill reaches the floor, amendments could add bans on some semiautomatic weapons, the Journal notes.

Any gun measure passed by the Senate would be sent to the Republican-controlled House, where its chances of success are far less certain.

A senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Republican support would depend on what the bill says. Mr. McConnell has said he would closely watch what happens in the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Obama, who is scheduled to push for his gun proposals in a speech in Minnesota on Monday, isn’t expected to soften his stance on banning so-called assault weapons. At the same time, he is trying to court sportsmen and others who own guns for recreational use.

The Judiciary Committee last week held its initial hearing on guns since the Connecticut shooting, and plans to hold two more, including one specifically on a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons, an aide to Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) said Sunday.

The aide said that no decisions have been made on what would be in the bill. In 1994, Congress passed a ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.


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