WASHINGTON – After a couple of false starts, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would ban assault weapons, restrict the size of ammunition clips and require universal background checks on gun sales.
But in spite of passionate pleas by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the bill’s sponsor, it heads to the Senate floor with no Republican support, and it may not have the backing of every Democrat. The Republican-led House of is all but certain to reject it.
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“As I’ve said before, the road is uphill,” Feinstein said Thursday, after her bill cleared the panel on a party-line vote of 10-8.
She was the lead sponsor of the original assault weapons ban Congress passed in 1994 but didn’t renew 10 years later for lack of support. The political landscape has changed since then, as has the degree of public shock over recent mass shootings, including one in December that left 20 Connecticut elementary school children dead, and another more than two years ago that gravely injured former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
But even that might not be enough to get restrictions on the use of assault weapons.