The Senate Judiciary Committee approved an assault weapons ban on Thursday afternoon. The votes went straight down party lines. The committee approved the gun ban in a 10-8 vote. Republican amendments requesting specific exemptions from the assault weapons ban were not approved.
Some included in the exemption requests in assault weapons ban included folks living along the Southwest order and victims of sexual abuse. Votes cast on the proposed amendments also went strictly along party lines.
An assault weapons ban was enacted during Bill Clinton’s administration in 1994. The gun ban expired during the George W. Bush administration in 2004 when Congress did not take action to renew the law.
White House press secretary Jay Carney encouraged Congress to quickly pass an assault weapons ban and support President Barack Obama’s gun control initiatives. Carney also noted that the president realized the stiff odds of getting such a ban through Congress. The press secretary stated that the gun control measures supported by President Obama will not take firearms away from law-abiding citizens.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee chair, feels that assault weapons should not be owned by American citizens and have been used heavily in mass shootings. Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Feinstein had engaged in heated discussions about the proposed gun ban.
After one such verbal clash with Senator Cruz, Dianne Feinstein said, “I’m not a sixth grader. I’m reasonably well-educated, and thank you for the lecture.”
Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn, also of Texas, wrote the assault weapons ban amendments. Cornyn believes that gun violence would be most effectively curbed by improving how mental health records are sent through the gun background check system.
Senator Feinstein’s gun control bill would also ban large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. A viral video by a county sheriff demonstrated the speed in which varying levels of shooters could empty and reload both small and large-capacity magazines clips. The sheriff, like a host of Second Amendment advocates, does not believe an ammunition magazine ban would decrease gun violence.
The assault weapons ban approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee will now travel on through the legislative process. Both many gun control and gun rights supporters feel the firearms ban faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives. Approximately six Democrats in traditionally Republican states are allegedly wavering in their support for the assault weapons ban. The Democrats in question face re-election battles next year.
How do you feel about an assault weapons ban?