The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has planned a series of votes this week on President Obama’s gun-control wish-list, including a ban on assault weapons.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has scheduled Thursday votes on four separate gun-control measures, including proposals to ban assault weapons, to make gun trafficking a federal crime, to provide schools with enhanced security protections and to expand background checks surrounding gun sales.
Three of those measures were introduced last month. Only the background-check legislation is new this week.
The decision to stage separate votes, rather than bundle the measures together, is significant, as it will allow centrist Democrats wary of Obama’s gun-control strategy to hand-pick which elements (if any) they want to support. It also ensures that the assault weapons ban – the most radioactive of the measures – is not automatically included in the package, thereby threatening the less controversial reforms.
The committee will allow amendments to each separate bill, a spokesperson said Monday.