WASHINGTON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a ban on the sale and manufacture of more than 150 types of semi-automatic weapons in a party-line vote. The measure is the fourth gun-control measure to clear the panel.
The vote came after heated debate between Democrats and Republicans on the committee about the constitutionality of the ban, a sign that the measure will face fierce GOP resistance in the Senate floor.
Democrats had to defeat four amendments offered by Texan Senator John Cornyn, who sought exceptions for victims of domestic violence, military veterans and those living on Southwest border states.
The assault weapons ban is the fourth gun control legislation to clear the Judiciary Committee. The panel on Tuesday approved the expansion of background checks to gun purchases, as well as a renewal of a grant program to help schools improve their security procedures. It also passed a bill cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and straw purchases of firearms earlier.
The bills are now headed to the Senate floor for a full vote, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have to decide on when and how to bring them to the floor.