“Assault Weapons” Ban Goes Down By Decisive Margin
Just under 20 years ago, the Congress passed an “Assault Weapons” ban, and it passed the Senate by an overwhelming 95-4 margin (source). Today, a similar ban failed to pass the Senate by a fairly decision margin:
The Senate rejected implementing an assault weapons ban Wednesday on an 40-60 vote.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the assault weapons ban as amendment to a gun control bill being considered by the Senate. Her amendment would have restored the weapons ban that expired in 2004. She said she was “dismayed” at the lack of courage from senators who were voting against gun control measures.
Despite getting the endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) earlier Wednesday, Feinstein was unable to get the 60 votes necessary to pass her amendment.
“I believe you should have the right to own a gun,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “But you do not need an assault weapon to defend yourself and your property. Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose alone, to kill a lot of people very quickly.”
Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Joe Donnelley (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) were among the red-state Democrats who against the amendment. GOP Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) supported Feinstein’s amendment.
As with the Manchin/Toomey vote, this outcome is not at all surprising. However, it is interesting to see how much the political landscape has changed over the past 20 years.