As President Obama takes to the road to sell a "comprehensive set of commonsense ideas" about gun violence, Senate Democrats are reportedly working on a gun-control bill that will include all of the his policy proposals — except the one that might be the biggest. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new proposal would include a ban on large-ammunition magazines; improve record keeping and tracking of gun sales; add provisions to keep guns from people with mental health problems; push for universal background checks on all gun sales; and even create efforts to block people from states with strict gun laws from crossing state lines to places they can buy them more easily.
What the legislation won't include is an assault-weapons ban, the most contentious issue currently on the table. Or not on the table, as most experts decided a while ago that it has no chance of happening. That didn't stop Sen. Diane Feinstein from crafting a comprehensive gun bill and introducing it with the support of several other Senators. The bill will might even be voted on the Senate floor. Heck, there's a very, very slim chance it could even pass. But since there's virtually no way it can survive the House of Representatives and become law, the bill is more likely to become a sacrificial offering that allows its very public defeat to lead the way to a compromise on the other issues.
Whether Feinstein's bill fails in committee or if 60 Senators or so are somehow forced to publicly vote against it, Washington has pretty much agreed that the assault-weapons ban is not going to make it to President Obama's desk. Meanwhile, Obama appears likely to push for the ban until it no longer makes political sense for him to do so — the breaking point will likely be whenever giving up the ban means getting everything else in the gun-control plan he announced while signing those 23 executive actions into law. Obama's speech in Minnesota this afternoon (which you can follow here) — and any future remarks as he heads around the country to drum up public support for new gun laws — will reportedly stick to original plan for the time being. On Air Force One Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said it was premature to write off any pieces of the president package, and that Obama continued to support the reinstatment of an assault-weapons ban. All this comes even as Senators works behind the scenes to craft an easier deal to sell to the House GOP.
The legislative process in crafting new gun laws is far from over — it will still be weeks for any bill is fully written, as the Senate Judicary Committee wants to have more hearings on the matter — but it does appear that this latest gun control bill will go forward. And thanks (sadly) to the seemingly never-ending stories of senseless shootings, the issue will not fade away without some sort of Congressional action, as it has so many times before.