Assault Weapons Ban Clears First Senate Hurdle, But Its Future Faces Tough Odds

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A bill banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips has cleared the first hurdle toward congressional passage, gaining approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee even while its broader future is unclear.

The bill, a key component of the Obama administration’s comprehensive legislative and executive package aimed at reducing gun violence in America, passed through the committee despite a heated exchange between Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex. It now heads to the full Senate for debate and, potentially, a vote. If successful there, the legislation will make its way to the House of Representatives.

It’s unlikely Democrats will be able to secure a vote in the Senate, however, given the 60-vote threshold needed to prevent a filibuster. The assault weapons ban is controversial even among some Democrats, and no Senate Republicans have expressed any intent to support it.

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