A proposed ban on sales of assault weapons would be defeated in the U.S. Senate today unless some members changed their current views, based on a Bloomberg review of recent lawmaker statements and interviews.

At least six of the 55 senators who caucus with Democrats have recently expressed skepticism or outright opposition to a ban, the review found. That means Democrats wouldn’t have a simple 51-vote majority to pass the measure, let alone the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster to bring it to a floor vote.

Assault Weapons Ban Lacks Democratic Votes Needed to Pass Senate

Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks next to a display of assault weapons during a news conference on Jan. 24, 2013 on Capitol Hill. Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A ban on the military-style weapons is among the legislative goals President Barack Obama outlined in his recommendations to Congress on curbing gun violence. Yesterday, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of Californiaintroduced legislation to outlaw such sales during a news conference where survivors of past shootings, some of them with bullets still lodged in their bodies, urged its passage.

Opposition Statements

The 1994 assault weapons ban, signed by President Bill Clinton, expired in 2004 and until the school shootings last month in Newtown, Connecticut, there’s been little effort in Congress to renew it.

The new legislation prohibits the sale or transfer of 158 of the most commonly owned military-style assault weapons. It exempts all assault weapons legally possessed prior to passage of the law and excludes more than 2,200 hunting and sporting rifles.

Baucus, in a Jan. 16 statement, said that “before passing new laws, we need a thoughtful debate that respects responsible, law-abiding gun owners in Montana instead of a one-size-fits-all directive from Washington.”

Wrong Answer

“The answer isn’t simply in limiting guns,” said Andrea Helling, a spokeswoman for Tester. The senator also told the Missoulian newspaper that an assault weapons ban wouldn’t have stopped the shootings in Newtown.

Begich said he was “not interested” in a ban, during a Jan. 10 conference call with reporters. “I don’t believe that we need to pile on new laws and suddenly that solves all the problems,” he said. Manchin told CNN on Jan. 13 that the debate can’t be “about guns and guns only and a ‘‘stand-alone ban’’ will ‘‘not go anywhere.’’

Two freshmen also expressed skepticism about an assault weapons ban.

‘‘There isn’t any amount of gun regulation or gun executive orders that will solve the problem of identifying people who could potentially do this and making sure they get the help and their families get the help so they don’t do this,” Heitkamp told North Dakota’s KXMB-TV and KXMC-TV Jan. 15.

Broader Ban

Scott Ogden, a spokesman for King, said the senator “remains skeptical” about an assault weapons ban, though he was waiting for more details. And Collins is concerned that the proposed legislation is “far broader in the kinds of rifles that would be banned than was the case in the law in effect between 1994 and 2004,” said her spokesman, Kevin Kelley.

Further dimming prospects for the assault weapon ban, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, both Democrats, voted against extending a previous ban in 2004. Neither has made any public statements since Newtown indicating that they will change their positions.

Feinstein is hoping survivor testimonials, along with the images of the 20 slain children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, most of them 6-year-olds, will push these Democrats to reconsider their opposition.

WHOLE THANG

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Replies to This Discussion

Im so tired of seeing and hearing these 2 words slapped together by some politicians who allege they have the best interest of the American people in mind. There is no legal definition for "assault weapon" in any dictionary in existence. There is an assault rifle, but no assault weapon. Now they like to say any weapon which resembles a military weapon. Well as someone pointed out today on RBN thats a pretty broad classification since most all guns and or weapons originate from the military and those that may be manufactured by a private manufacturer many times are adopted by the military depending on there effectiveness. So the next time you hear some person utter the words assault weapon use that moment to give them an education and maybe open their eyes to the true agenda.

Feinstein also said in her speech that while the previous assault weapons ban was in effect we had no incidents. Ok, she then went on to say that manufacturers were able to get around a lot of the ban due to cosmetic changes making those laws ineffective. So which is it? By my logic the manufacturers modified the guns, the public still bought them and there were no incidents or very few. Certainly not enough to justify a media circus as we do now. It saddens me to see the people being so gullible and complacent.

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