The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would renew and strengthen the assault-weapons ban. The bill, which passed on a tight 10-8 vote, now heads to the Senate floor where it faces an uphill battle.


Senate Democrats are poised to pass a renewed and strengthened assault-weapons ban out of committee Thursday as part of a package of measures advancing to the floor, but are appealing to President Obama to help battle opposition from Republicans and gun-rights supporters.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, after advancing bills earlier in the week to enact near-universal background checks and combat gun trafficking, on Thursday morning will take up what is arguably the most controversial measure drafted since the Newtown, Conn., shooting.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's effort to revive an assault-weapons ban, as well as a ban on large-capacity magazines, has revived a tense debate over gun rights in Washington and across the country. The panel seemed likely to approve the measure Thursday on a party-line vote. But once it reaches the full Senate -- probably in April -- the measure faces heavy opposition by Republicans and some moderate Democrats, as well.