A controversial assault weapons ban will not be part of a Democratic gun bill that is expected to reach the Senate floor next month, says Politico, quoting Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). After a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.), a frustrated Feinstein said she learned that the bill she sponsored — which bans 157 different models of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — wouldn't be part of a Democratic gun bill to be offered on the Senate floor. Instead, it can be offered as an amendment. Its exclusion from the package makes what was already an uphill battle an almost certain defeat.
The ban is supported by more than a dozen Senate Democrats and the White House, as well as gun-control groups. Reid's decision highlights the tightrope walked by the majority leader in governing the gun control issue. Trapped between the White House and rank-and-file Democrats who support broad gun control legislation after the Newtown, Ct., shootings., Reid must also be mindful of red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2014 who favor gun rights. Aside from the ban, three other major pieces of gun legislation have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee: a gun trafficking bill, a Democrats-only background checks measure, and a proposal to increase school safety. There are two likely paths: Reid could advance a gun trafficking bill with a school safety provision; some form of background checks and the assault weapons ban would then be offered as amendments. In the other scenario, Reid might offer a background checks bill that includes the gun trafficking and school safety provisions, with assault weapons again offered as an amendment.