Background checks–and an assault weapons ban–are not lost causes (yet)

Updated
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid giving a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid giving a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
File photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are moving forward on a bill that would require mandatory background checks before purchasing firearms. In a statement released Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear that any gun reform legislation that passes the Senate “must include background checks:”

Later tonight, I will start the process of bringing a bill to reduce gun violence to the Senate floor. This bill will include the provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking reported by the Judiciary Committee. I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed. If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill.


The three main components of Reid’s gun control bill include a federal trafficking statue and an end to straw purchasing; improved measures for school safety; and a requirement on background checks for all firearms and closing the gun show loophole. The issue of background checks is the only one of the bill’s proposals that does not have widespread bipartisan support.

On Hardball Thursday night, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reported that Reid would also guarantee votes on two other major components: an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines—both which will face uphill battles, and are unlikely to be included in the final bill.

The bill will be considered after Easter break.

Background checks--and an assault weapons ban--are not lost causes (yet)

Updated