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Senate GOP blocks votes on assault weapons ban, universal gun background checks

A sign calling for a ban on assault weapons.

WASHINGTON, DC — A push to bring back an assault weapons ban and to pass universal gun background checks was shot down in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wanted to pass the assault weapons ban on unanimous consent.

“Right now, the scourge of gun violence in America is a national crisis,” said Schumer. “The American people are sick and tired of enduring one mass shooting after another.”

Several Democratic Senators called for its passage on the Senate floor and pointed to high-profile mass shootings involving assault weapons including Sandy Hook, Uvalde, and Lewiston.

“Assault weapons have become the firearm of choice in more and more mass shootings over the decades,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

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“83 rounds in 60 seconds? That’s what a farmer needs? That’s what a rancher needs? I think not. This is a military weapon designed to kill,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

The vote on an assault weapons ban was blocked because of Republican opposition.

“Democrats are demanding that the American people give up their liberty,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). “Democrats’ ban on assault weapons is an assault on lawful gun owners.”

It led to a strong divide along party lines.

“We’ve heard that a lot from the other side,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA). “They’re trying to take our freedom away. It’s a strange freedom that regularly sends our children into lockdown. What kind of freedom is that?”

The assault weapons ban was first put in place in 1994 and expired in 2004.

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Democrats have tried but failed since then to pass it again because of Republican opposition.

“A one-size fits all approach doesn’t fit the needs of our constituents,” said Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC). “This bill would make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves and their loved ones.”

Legislation on universal gun background checks was also blocked by the GOP.

“This is about the father who wishes to pass down a hunting rifle to his son or the friend who wants to lend a shotgun to his neighbor who is in need of protection,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). “It would punish the law-abiding, law-abiding citizens for the actions of criminals.”

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