The Senate is unlikely to pass a ban on assault weapons despite growing calls for tougher gun control in the wake of the Colorado Springs massacre, a top lawmaker said Sunday.
Not enough senators support the proposed ban to make it law, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I’m glad that President Biden is going to be pushing us to take a vote on an assault weapons ban,” he said.
“The House has already passed it. It’s sitting in front of the Senate. Does it have 60 votes in the Senate right now? Probably not.”
The horrifying Nov. 19 killing spree at a LGBTQ bar in Colorado, where five people were slain by a gunman wielding an AR-15-style rifle, has raised a chorus of calls imploring lawmakers to ban such high-powered weapons.
Biden on Thursday urged the Senate to take up legislation the House passed over the summer, saying, “The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick.”
But with Congress in a lame-duck session and Democrats controlling the evenly divided Senate by just one tie-breaking vote, from Vice President Kamala Harris, expectations that the bill will pass are low.
“If we don’t have the votes, then we’ll talk to Schumer and maybe come back next year, with maybe an additional senator, and see if we can do better,” Murphy said.
Dems maintained control of the Senate in this year’s midterms, and will have 51 seats if Sen. Raphael Warnock fends off challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia’s runoff election on Dec. 6.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in the wake of the shooting in his home state, Colorado’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis stopped short of fully embracing an assault weapons ban Sunday.
“If you’re talking about a … process where you need an additional license or background check for some of the most high-powered weapons, I did support that as a member of Congress,” he said.
Meanwhile, existing gun laws are going unenforced in many localities, Murphy said.
“Sixty percent of counties in this country are refusing to implement the nation’s gun laws. We’ve got to do something about that,” he said.
“Do we want to continue to supply funding to law enforcement in counties that refuse to implement state and federal gun laws? I’ll talk to my colleagues about what our approach should be to this problem,” he added.
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