Connecticut Senators to help introduce assault weapons ban

Connecticut’s Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, plan to help introduce an assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban Thursday.

The chief sponsor of the “Assault Weapons Ban  2013,” is  Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has long sought to reinstate the a ban on the military style assault weapon and high-capacity clips used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza. It expired in 2004.

“This bill is the first in a series of measures,” said Blumenthal. “But it’s a signature moment in the effort to reduce gun violence.”

Blumenthal said legislation that would broaden background checks and address deficiencies in the mental health system and school security are likely to follow.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 would be much tougher that the one that expired — and tougher than Connecticut’s ban — Blumenthal said, because it would broaden the definition of an assault weapon.

The campaign to win support for the bill in the Senate will kick off Thursday with a press conference featuring a coalition. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat who represents Newtown in Congress, will also attend. 

The legislation has a fighting chance in the Senate, if Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gets behind it.

Reid, a gun-rights advocate, said he would allow gun control legislation to come to the Senate floor, but has not said he would support it.

“Any effort to reduce gun violence has always been an uphill effort… has always been politically fraught,” Blumenthal said.