(WaPo) — A proposed ban on military-style assault weapons faces a key test vote as early as Thursday when the committee considering gun control legislation is scheduled to decide whether to refer the proposal to the full Senate.
The Senate Judiciary Committee released a list of four bills it plans to consider at a business meeting Thursday morning, but Senate Republicans could use the panel’s procedural rules to delay the meeting for a week. As with most Senate proceedings, the list of bills could change — some might be dropped or others added to the list — but the Senate is clearly on the verge of beginning the formal process of reviewing legislation introduced in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.
Whenever the committee meets, it will consider the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), which goes beyond a similar ban that expired in 2004 and covers nearly 160 specific military-style weapons. Among many other specific provisions, the bill also would limit the size of ammunition clips to devices that can hold no more than 10 rounds.
The committee also plans to consider a bill by its chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), to make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time. Another measure, by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), would provide up to $50 million in federal funding to schools to help draft new security plans. The Boxer proposal mirrors calls made by the National Rifle Association to put armed guards at every American school. Boxer’s bill wouldn’t mandate armed guards, but instead provide money for schools to develop new security plans.
Finally, the committee plans to consider a bill by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to expand the nation’s gun buyers background check system. What’s unclear is what version of the Schumer bill will be considered: An older version introduced in previous congressional sessions, or an updated version that includes bipartisan support. (read more)