The senator leading the charge to revive a U.S. assault weapons ban conceded on Sunday, just days before hearings on gun control open, that winning Senate passage will be tough but said she has been assured she will have the chance to bring it up for a vote.
President Barack Obama, who has made gun control a top priority after 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman on Dec. 14 at a Connecticut school, said in remarks published on Sunday that gun control advocates should take into account the views of rural Americans who use guns for hunting.
“Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas,” Obama told The New Republic magazine as he continued his administration’s outreach to gun owners even as he seeks new gun restrictions.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that even if the assault weapons ban is left out of a broader package intended to curb gun violence, she will have the opportunity to offer it as an amendment on the Senate floor.
Feinstein introduced legislation last Thursday to ban military-style assault weapons like the one used by the gunman in last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and high-capacity ammunition clips.
“This has always been an uphill fight. This has never been easy. This is the hardest of the hard,” Feinstein, a California Democrat, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
“Now, will it (gun violence legislation) only be assault weapons? No, most likely. There will be a package put together. If assault weapons is left out of the package … I’ve been assured by the majority leader I’ll be able to do it as an amendment on the (Senate) floor, which is the way I did it in 1993,” Feinstein added.
Feinstein was referring to the previous U.S. assault weapon ban that she authored. That law expired in 2004 after 10 years in effect and Congress refused to extend it.