Reid drops assault weapons ban: ‘I want something that will succeed’

Updated
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. March 14, 2013.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. March 14, 2013.
Cliff Owen/AP

The controversial assault weapons ban will no longer be included in a major Democratic legislation, according to Senate officials.

Senate Majority Leader Reid told reporters Tuesday that he dropped the restriction on military-style weapons as a way to save the larger piece of gun reform legislation.

“Right now her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That’s not 60,” said Reid of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed bill, confirming it lacked the minimum amount of support needed to survive. If the ban were included, he ran the risk of not being allowed to bring up the larger gun bill on the Senate floor for a debate.

Reid said he fully intends to keep pushing for stricter gun control in this country. “I want something that will succeed,” he said.

Feinstein, who sponsored the bill, learned of Reid’s decision at a meeting on Monday. The California Democrat said she’s “disappointed” with his verdict to drop the measure.

The ban would have prohibited the sale and distribution of 157 different models of military assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. While dropped from the initial bill, it could be considered as an amendment.

Despite the recent push from Democratic leaders for stricter gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the ban wasn’t expected to pass with solid opposition from Republicans and even some Democrats.

The Senate Judiciary Committee initially approved the assault weapons ban and three other gun measures on expanding background checks, penalties for gun trafficking and school safety.

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Reid drops assault weapons ban: 'I want something that will succeed'

Updated