You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • Boxer Rubin ’Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
    TORONTO – Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, died Sunday. He was 76.
  • Engineer vital to moon landing success dies
    SCARBOROUGH, Maine – John C. Houbolt, an engineer whose contributions to the U.S. space program were vital to NASA’s successful moon landing in 1969, has died. He was 95.
  • Documents detail GM delays in another recall
    General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims, according to government documents released Saturday.
Advertisement

Democrats’ weapons bill stripped of assault ban

– An assault weapons ban won’t be in the gun control legislation that Democrats bring to the Senate floor next month, a decision that means the ban’s chances of survival now are all but hopeless.

The ban is the most controversial firearms restriction that President Obama and other Democrats have pressed for since an assault-type weapon was used in the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Rejection by Congress would be a major victory for the National Rifle Association and its supporters and a setback for Obama and the provision’s sponsor, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In a tactical decision, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., concluded that including the prohibition in the gun bill would jeopardize the chances for passage of any firearms legislation at all, taking away votes that would be needed to overcome Republican attempts to block the Senate from even taking up the issue.

“I very much regret it,” Feinstein said Tuesday of the choice that Reid told her he had made. “I tried my best. But my best, I guess, wasn’t good enough.”

Feinstein’s proposal to prohibit military-style weapons will still get a vote as an amendment to the gun legislation that Democrats debate. But she is all but certain to need 60 votes from the 100-member Senate to prevail, and she faces solid Republican opposition as well as likely defections from some Democrats.

Reid said “using the most optimistic numbers,” there were less than 40 votes for Feinstein’s ban. That is far less than the 60 votes needed to move contested legislation in the chamber, which has 53 Democrats plus two independents who usually back them.

“I’m not going to try to put something on the floor that won’t succeed. I want something that will succeed. I think the worst of all worlds would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there,” Reid said.

Because of the opposition the ban has prompted, its exclusion from the initial package the Senate considers had been expected as a way for Democrats to amass the strongest possible vote for the overall legislation. Having a separate vote on assault weapons might free moderate Democratic senators facing re-election in Republican-leaning states next year to vote against the assault weapons measure, but then support the remaining overall package of gun curbs.

Gun control supporters also consider a strong Senate vote on an overall bill important because it could put pressure on the GOP-run House, whose leaders have shown little enthusiasm for most of Obama’s proposals.

Foes of Feinstein’s proposal call it a gun grab to take firearms from law-abiding citizens with minimal effect on gun violence. Feinstein and other supporters say limits are needed on the firepower available to people who might make attacks such as the Newtown shootings, which police say involved an assault-type weapon.

Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said he hoped an assault weapons ban would pass eventually.

Two laws to limit ammunition magazines and expand required background checks are to be signed today by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado, site of another mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Aurora.

Advertisement