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Panel Splits Sharply on Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Plan

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee strongly disagreed Wednesday over a proposed reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, indicating that the panel may break along party lines when it marks up the legislation, possibly as early as Thursday.

At a crowded hearing filled with uniformed law enforcement officers and those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, Democrats said the assault weapons legislation (S 150) — which would ban the future production of 157 specific kinds of gun, as well as ammunition magazines with more than 10 bullets — would save lives. Recent shooting massacres could have been prevented or made less deadly had the proposal been on the books, they said.

“The one common thread running through these mass shootings in recent years — from Aurora, Colorado, to Tucson, Arizona, to Blacksburg, Virginia — is that the gunman used a military-style, semiautomatic assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine to commit the unspeakable horror,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chaired the hearing and is the lead sponsor of the legislation.

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