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Senate committee approves nationwide ban on assault weapons

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will set aside proposed gun legislation following the defeat a day earlier of major provisions sought by President Barack Obama and Democrats in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre. (Photo: CNN)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will set aside proposed gun legislation following the defeat a day earlier of major provisions sought by President Barack Obama and Democrats in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre. (Photo: CNN)

WASHINGTON (FoxNews.com) –  The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a renewed assault-weapons ban, advancing the measure to the Senate floor where it will face intense resistance from Republicans and other gun-rights supporters.

According to FoxNews.com, The bill was approved by the committee on a party-line, 10-8 vote. Chief sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she knows “the road is uphill” for the legislation, but sought to press her colleagues to consider the bill.

“Are we going to stand with the thousands of police chiefs and law enforcement officers who do support this bill? Are we going to stand with the victims of gun violence?” she said, stressing that the bill does not take “any weapons away from anybody” but would ban future purchases.

Republicans, though, described the legislation — which comes nearly a decade after the last assault-weapons ban expired — as an ineffective response to a genuine problem.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., noted that assault weapons are used in a scant percentage of murders every year and said a ban would merely provide a “false sense of safety.” He critiqued another measure that would limit the size of magazines.

“I could see a situation where an individual citizen would need more than six bullets, or 10” for self-defense, he said. “There are so many better ways to deal with this.”

The vote comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced bills earlier in the week to enact near-universal background checks and combat gun trafficking. The measure approved Thursday is the most controversial drafted since the deadly Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

But once it reaches the full Senate — probably in April — the measure faces heavy opposition by Republicans and some moderate Democrats, as well. Feinstein acknowledged she’d need more backing if it is to stand a chance on the floor — even then, it’s hard to imagine a circumstance where the Republican-controlled House would allow the measure to proceed.

“I’d like to see everybody doing more,” bill sponsor Feinstein said Wednesday when asked if she’d like more assistance from President Obama. “Yes, absolutely, we need help. We have the 800-pound gorilla out there” — a reference to the potent National Rifle Association.

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