Senators pushing to renew a 10-year ban on military-style assault weapons showcased their backing from law enforcement officials on Monday as the Senate headed toward a series of politically charged votes on gun issues.
Senators on both sides said they expected a close vote Tuesday on whether to maintain the ban, scheduled to expire in September, reports the New York Times. The ban is being considered as part of legislation granting gun manufacturers and distributors immunity from civil lawsuits arising from gun crimes.
Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and John Kerry planned to take a break from the campaign to vote to extend the ban.
And expecting a tie vote, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote to Vice President Dick Cheney to urge him to support the ban should he be called on to break a deadlock.
President Bush has said he favors renewal of the assault weapons restrictions. But he has also called for the legislation shielding the gun industry to be kept free of additional provisions that could slow its progress through Congress.
“The semi-auto ban, the gun-show loophole, a variety of other kinds of issues could simply drag this bill down,” said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). Craig is chief sponsor of the proposal to protect the gun industry from lawsuits.