Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill to ban the sale of assault rifles in the United States was dropped by Senator Harry Reid of Arizona, who decided not to include it in the gun reform package to be presented to the Senate.

Senator Reid told reporters, “I’m not going to try to put something on the floor that won’t succeed. I want something that will succeed. I think the worst of all worlds would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there.” Reid added that the bill had less than 40 votes when it would need 60 to have majority.

Senator Feinstein has been at the forefront of gun control legislation in this country, successfully passing a ban on assault rifles in 1994, but only because the law had an expiration year of 2004. Feinstein, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, drafted a bill that would renew that law – the one that was just nixed.

On television on Tuesday, Senator Feinstein said:

“I’m not going to lay down and play dead. I think the American people have said in every single public poll that they support this kind of legislation. It’s aimed to protect children, to protect schools and malls … Not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust, as I would see it.”

Vice President Joe Biden told NPR yesterday that he is still fighting for the bill. “The same thing was told to me when the first assault weapons ban in 1994 was attached to the Biden Crime bill; that it couldn’t possibly pass … It was declared dead several times, so I haven’t given up on this.”

In December, a CNN poll showed that 62 percent of Americans were in favor of a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, and a UMass Poll released this week showed that at 53 percent.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.