Senate leader may allow vote on assault weapons ban


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, signaled on Tuesday that despite earlier indications to the contrary, he may allow a vote on a possible ban on assault weapons.

Reid, a longtime gun-rights advocate from Nevada, recently indicated he would not permit a vote because the Republican-led House of Representatives was unlikely to go along with such a prohibition.

But after a weekly meeting with fellow Senate Democrats, Reid told reporters he expects “to have a free amendment process” on gun legislation.

That process could result in other Democrats proposing a possible resurrection of a 10-year ban on semi-automatic assault weapons that expired in 2004.

A series of shootings in the last two months, including one at an elementary school in Connecticut in which 20 children and six staff were killed, has triggered a renewed debate on gun control.

President Barack Obama proposed a package of measures last week to combat gun violence that includes a ban on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition clips, expanded mental health treatments and improved school security.

A series of shootings in the last two months, including one at an elementary school in Connecticut in which 20 children and six staff were killed, has triggered a renewed debate on gun control.