WASHINGTON— A Senate committee approved an assault weapons ban on a party-line vote Thursday that signaled how difficult it will be for the proposal to survive in the full Senate.
The Democratic led Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill on a 10-8 vote after rejecting a series of Republican amendments aimed at exempting victims of sexual abuse, people living along the Southwest border and others from the prohibition. The GOP proposals were also defeated along party lines.
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President Barack Obama made an assault weapons ban part of the gun curbs he proposed in January, a month after a shooter with an assault rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at a school in Newtown, Conn. Feinstein and others have argued that such firearms are used in a disproportionate number of mass shootings and shouldn’t be available to civilians.
The prohibition is one of the most controversial of the gun restrictions being considered in Congress. Its foes say law-abiding citizens should not lose their Second Amendment right to own the weapons, which they say are popular for self-defense, hunting and collecting.
Thursday’s debate included a fiery clash between Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ban’s author, and outspoken freshman conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Cruz said Feinstein’s bill would create exceptions to the Second Amendment and asked her if she would favor exemptions to the First Amendment’s freedom of speech by denying that right to certain books.
Read More at OfficialWire . By Alan Fram.