In addition to rejecting the Manchin-Toomey gun background check amendment today, the U.S. Senate also soundly rejected Dianne Feinstein’s effort to re-instate and expand the federal ban on assault weapons.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., last month had announced that he wouldn’t let Feinstein’s legislation proceed as part of a bigger gun-control bill, but that she would be given a chance to offer it as an amendment. That amendment was defeated Wednesday on a 40-60 vote.
“I’m disappointed by today’s vote, but I always knew this was an uphill battle. I believe the American people are far ahead of their elected officials on this issue, and I will continue to fight for a renewed ban on assault weapons,” Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement issued a few minutes ago.
A federal assault weapons ban was enacted in 1994 but expired in 2004.
“The very fact that we’re debating gun violence on the Senate floor is a step in the right direction, and I hope my colleagues vote their conscience and approve the underlying bill. But I’m certain that in the coming months and years, we will be forced to confront by other incidents like Newtown, where innocents are murdered with one of these weapons of war,” Feinstein said. “I will carry on this fight against military-style assault weapons, and I ask of the American people that they continue to pressure their elected officials to take action. It’s long overdue that we take serious steps to remove these dangerous firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines from society.”
Feinstein’s amendment would’ve banned the future sale, manufacture, possession and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned firearms it deems military-style assault weapons, plus any other semi-automatic firearm that can take a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics and any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds – much like California’s ban. Her amendment would’ve exempted weapons that were legally-owned at the time of enactment and excluded 2,258 hunting and specific makes and models of sporting weapons.