Via email from the CSGV:
Where We Stand on the Assault Weapons Ban
By now, many of you have heard about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s announcement yesterday regarding the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. Speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Senator Reid announced that the Assault Weapons Ban will not be part of the base gun violence prevention bill he brings to the Senate floor next month.
The reaction from gun violence prevention advocates was fierce and immediate; many felt betrayed. The press quickly reported that “the Assault Weapons Ban is dead in the Senate.”
The press is wrong.
There’s no doubt that Senator Reid’s statement could have been more sensitive and thoughtful. But it’s important to understand the procedural hurdles he is contemplating. If there is a filibuster by Republicans, Senator Reid will need 60 votes to bring a gun violence prevention bill to the Senate floor for a vote. He is weighing whether he can get those 60 votes in a package bill if the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) is included. His estimation is that it is better to leave the AWB out of the bill he brings to the floor, so that he can break a filibuster and get it there in the first place. Once it’s on the floor, Senator Reid has been clear that he will allow Senator Feinstein to introduce the AWB as an amendment to the bill. This strategy would ensure that all the important pieces of the Senate Judiciary Committe’s package (universal background checks, anti-gun trafficking penalties, and the Assault Weapons Ban) actually get votes, as opposed to none of them.
And let’s remember what the sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein, said on January 27th of this year:
“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 will be able to do it as an amendment on the floor, which is the way I did it in 1993. So, that doesn’t particularly bother me.”
And it shouldn’t bother us either.
Let’s all stay focused and get the up or down votes on the Senate floor that gun violence victims and survivors so richly deserve. Please continue to call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote YES on universal background checks, the assault weapons ban, and tougher criminal penalties for straw buyers and gun traffickers.
Thank you as always for your support!
Barb S. and I used to say, “I’ll believe it when the check clears the bank.”
In regards to anti-gun legislation being dead: I’ll believe it when the perpetrators are convicted. Until then we need to be on guard because it isn’t and won’t be over for a long time.