Assault weapons ban won't be in Dems' gun bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided that a proposed assault weapons ban won't be part of a gun control bill the Senate plans to debate next month, the sponsor of the ban said today, a decision that means the ban stands little chance of survival.

Instead, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she will be able to offer her ban on the military-style firearms as an amendment. Feinstein is all but certain to need 60 votes from the 100-member Senate to prevail, but she faces solid Republican opposition and likely defections from some moderate Democrats.

"I very much regret it," Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters of Reid's decision. "I tried my best."

Feinstein, an author of the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired after a decade, said that Reid, D-Nev., told her of the decision on Monday.

There are 53 Democrats in the Senate, plus two independents who usually vote with them.

An assault-type weapon was used in the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that revived gun control as a top issue in Washington. Banning those firearms was among the proposals President Barack Obama made in January in response to those slayings.

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