The support of pro-gun Democrats, such as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, is boosting prospects for a new drive to ban semi-automatic weapons and high-ammunition clips.
Will the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School lead to a new ban on assault rifles? That’s one question emerging in Washington as lawmakers react to a mass shooting that has left a Connecticut town in mourning and the nation itself wrestling with the single word, “why."
Most if not all of the bullets fired by gunman Adam Lanza came from an assault rifle, a civilianized version of the military’s M-16. Such semi-automatic weapons were banned for 10 years in the early 1990s. But the ban expired in 2004 and was not renewed as the political trend of the time, reflecting public opinion, was toward looser regulation of firearms.
Now Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California says she’ll reintroduce a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips in the next Congress. There are some indications that her proposal will receive at least a more serious hearing than have other recent attempts to curb these popular military-style items.
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