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Assault weapons ban likely to fail in Congress, gun groups say

WASHINGTON -- Gun rights groups predicted Sunday that efforts to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips would fail in Congress.

Even some congressional Democrats indicated that a bill to revive the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 would have a difficult time winning passage in the Democratic-led Senate well as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

"An assault weapons stand-alone ban -- on just guns alone . . . in the political reality that we have today, will not go anywhere," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), himself a gun owner, told the CNN program "State of the Union."

David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, signaled little appetite for compromise as the White House mulls action on gun violence after the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school. Following hearings last week, Vice President Joe Biden is to report recommendations to Obama on Tuesday.

"What we put the brakes on is anything that simply takes away a person's Second Amendment right for no good reason," Keene said on the CNN show, referring to the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of the right to bear arms.

"The likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," Keene said. Asked about new limits on high-capacity ammunition clips, he added: "I don't think ultimately they are going to get that either."

Biden, who heads a task force on gun violence, has said he will recommend universal background checks for gun buyers and new limits on the capacity of magazines like those used by the Connecticut gunman.

The White House also has said it will try to revive the U.S. ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 after being in effect for a decade. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are expected to introduce legislation on reviving the assault-weapons ban.

The NRA has a long history of influence in Washington. It spends heavily on political races and says it has 4 million members. The group criticized the White House effort after meeting with Biden on Thursday.

Larry Pratt, executive director of another gun rights group, Gun Owners of America, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," said: "We don't think that there is much likelihood that the Congress is going to move on making gun-control laws worse than they are."

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) was cautious about the chances for a revival of the assault weapons ban. He told CNN: "The things that we do agree on, it seems, [are] the universal background checks and the [limits on] high-capacity magazines."

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