Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that he will begin to move gun safety legislation Thursday night that includes a variety of items including mandatory background checks, which said will be included in “any bill that passes the Senate.”
“Later tonight, I will start the process of bringing a bill to reduce gun violence to the Senate floor,” he said in a statement. “This bill will include the provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking reported by the Judiciary Committee.”
The move serves to begin the process of debating the legislation, which isn’t expected to come up for a vote until after Easter. Earlier this week, Reid decided to eliminate from the bill a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying they lacked the votes to pass. But he promises they will also receive votes separately.
“I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed,” Reid said. “If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill. But I want to be clear: in order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks.”
Reid’s move serves to reassure pro-reform critics after the demise of the assault weapons ban created a gloomy mood for the cause of gun control. It also makes clear he intends to push hard to enact background checks, which have cleared committee, among other items.
As for the assault weapons ban, limits to high-capacity clips and mental health provisions, Reid said, “In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do.”
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.