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Very Little Changes As Gun Lobby Once Again Thwarts Feinstein on Assault Weapons

Harry Reid drops her assault weapons ban from the Democratic gun-control package as the NRA cheers.

Everyone knew that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban was going to be the toughest gun-control reform to achieve in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Although it passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on a party line vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Feinstein last night that it won’t be part of the still-undefined gun control package he’ll bring to the Senate floor. Feinstein is free to introduce her bill, which bans 157 models of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as an amendment to the package, but it will almost certainly fail.

“People say, well aren’t you disappointed; I say, of course I’m disappointed,” a visibly frustrated Feinstein told reporters (including Salon’s Alex Seitz Wald) Tuesday afternoon. “Because if it was in a package it would take 60 votes to get it out.” She suggested asking Reid directly about his reasoning, and a little while later, Reid obliged. “Using the most optimistic numbers,” the Senate leader insisted, the assault weapons ban has less than 40 votes. “That’s not 60.”

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