(CBS NEWS) Senate lawmakers this week are beginning what appears to be their final push to pass gun control legislation in response to the deadly massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December.
On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is chairing a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013," which she introduced last month. The following day, the Judiciary Committee plans to consider the assault weapons ban, which would also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as three other bills.
The assault weapons ban is seen as having virtually no chance to get through Congress. The decision by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to nonetheless consider it in committee signals that the Senate is taking a piecemeal approach to passing gun control legislation, rather than trying to pass a comprehensive bill. That's because the assault weapons bill, which has a good chance to clear the committee, would almost certainly drag down the other gun control legislation if it were part of a comprehensive package presented to the full Senate. Feinstein herself acknowledged this week that her bill faced "very tough" prospects on the Senate floor.
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