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Published January 13 2013

NRA says gun lobby has the support in Congress to block assault weapons ban

WASHINGTON — The powerful gun lobby is gauging enough support in Congress to block a law that would ban assault weapons, despite promises from the White House and senior lawmakers to make such a measure a reality.

Senators plan to introduce a bill that would ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition magazines, like the one used in the December shooting massacre that killed 27 people, most of them children, in Newtown, Conn. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has promised to push for a renewal of expired legislation.

The National Rifle Association has so far prevented passage of another assault weapons ban like the one that expired in 2004. But some lawmakers say the Newtown tragedy has transformed the country, and Americans are ready for stricter gun laws. President Barack Obama has made gun control a top priority. And on Tuesday Vice President Joe Biden is expected to give Obama a comprehensive package of recommendations for curbing gun violence.

Still, the NRA has faith that Congress would prevent a new weapons ban.

“When a president takes all the power of his office, if he's willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions. You don't want to bet your house on the outcome. But I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress,” NRA president David Keene told CNN's “State of the Union.”