Hastert accused of deceptive remark on weapons ban
The Senate has yet to vote on an extension of the assault-weapons ban.
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
WASHINGTON -- Less than six weeks before the federal assault-weapons ban expires, some supporters of an extension charged House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Wednesday with misleading the country after he said the Senate had already defeated it.
The Senate voted 52-47 on March 2 in support of an amendment extending the ban. But the National Rifle Association then pressured Senate Republican leaders to kill the gunmaker-liability legislation that contained the amendment. The ban, passed in 1994, expires Sept. 13. President Bush has said he would sign an extension.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ban's main sponsor, has been pressing House Republican leaders to hold a vote on an extension. But Hastert's press secretary, John Feehery, said Wednesday that a vote "doesn't look likely right now."
In an interview with National Public Radio broadcast Wednesday, Hastert, R-Ill., said the extension "might have a chance" to pass in the House, but "there's no promise we can get it out of the Senate because the Senate has defeated it already."
Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, issued a statement calling Hastert's remarks "highly misleading."