harry reid

Harry Reid sets stage for showdown gun vote in Senate, dares GOP to filibuster

by David Sherfinski, The Washington Times  |  published on April 10, 2013

Senate Democrats have set Thursday as the date for the first major gun showdown in Congress since the Connecticut school shootings, saying they will put their gun control bill on the chamber floor and dare Republicans to filibuster it.

At least nine Republicans have signaled that they will vote with Democrats to bring the bill to the floor, but it’s unclear whether Democrats will be united. If the bill doesn’t get 60 votes, the chamber won’t be able to begin debating it — much less see it through to passage.

“We’re moving forward on this bill. The American people deserve a vote on this legislation. And I’m going forward on this regardless of whether it’s a compromise or not,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, told reporters as he laid out his strategy Tuesday afternoon.

The vote Thursday will be the first in either chamber of Congress since the December rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which a young gunman massacred 20 students and six adults at the school.

President Obama has stepped up pressure for Congress to pass a broad set of gun controls, including banning military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and universal background checks for all gun purchases.

But the bill Mr. Reid will bring to the floor doesn’t include the weapons and magazine bans. Instead, it expands background checks to encompass almost all private transfers, imposes new penalties on gun traffickers and “straw purchasers,” and allocates $40 million to bolster school safety.

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