Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Wednesday that he will support an amendment to reinstate the assault weapons ban.
Reid dropped the measure from the main gun control legislation last month because it lacked sufficient support. This is the first piece of good news for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill, even though the measure is still expected to fail.
“I will vote for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban because we must strike a better balance between the right to defend ourselves and the right of every child in America to grow up safe from gun violence,” Reid told his Senate colleagues. “I chose to vote my conscience, not only as Harry Reid, United States Senator, but also as a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend. I choose to vote my conscience because, if tragedy strikes again -- if innocents are gunned down in a classroom or a theater or a restaurant -- I could not live with myself as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather or as a friend knowing that I didn’t do everything in my power to prevent it.”
The majority leader also tweeted the news.
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I will vote for assault weapons ban because maintaining law and order and saving lives is more important than preventing imagined tyranny.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) April 17, 2013
Twenty-six people were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last December. The atrocity has revived the gun control debate as lawmakers seek to pass legislation that not only curbs gun violence, but also keeps guns away from criminals and the mentally unsound. Shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to consider an assault weapons ban as part of proposed legislation to tackle gun violence.
In 2004, Reid voted against renewing the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired. He is 73 years old and not up for re-election until 2016.