WASHINGTON — In spite of calls from gun control advocates after the shootings last week in Aurora, Colo., Congress is unlikely to revisit the assault weapons ban, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Wednesday.
The Clinton-era ban on the manufacture of assault weapons expired in 2004. Hoyer, who voted for the ban, said neither the Republican-led House nor the Democratic-led Senate have the votes to reinstate it.
Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said he remains supportive of a ban, but voters need to come to some sort of agreement on the issue.
"Assault weapons have one purpose, and one purpose only: To kill a lot of people quickly. No other purpose," the Southern Maryland lawmaker told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "I don't think anybody hunts deer, quail – geese, in Maryland – with an assault rifle. And if they do, they shouldn't be.
"Having said that, what we really need to do is create a consensus in this country, because we don't have the votes on the floor of the House, and they don't have the votes on the floor of the Senate, to pass anything. And we would be kidding ourselves to put legislation on the floor which would, at this point in time, even in light of the tragedy – in light of the Columbine tragedy – would not pass."
Police say Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes used an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun in the attack that killed 12 injured and injured dozens early Friday during the premiere of the new Batman movie.