The Corner

Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren’s False Claim about the Assault Weapons Ban

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the Democratic presidential debate in Houston, Texas, September 12, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Elizabeth Warren falsely claimed during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate that the federal Assault Weapons Ban wasn’t reinstated in 2013 because of the Senate’s 60-vote requirement to advance most legislation.

That ban and other gun-control measures haven’t passed because of “corruption, pure and simple,” Warren claimed. “We have a Congress that is beholden to the gun industry. And unless we’re willing to address that head-on and roll back the filibuster, we’re not going to get anything done on guns. I was in the United States Senate when 54 senators said let’s do background checks, let’s get rid of assault weapons, and with 54 senators, it failed because of the filibuster.”

Warren is correct that the Manchin-Toomey background-check bill got 54 votes in 2013, but the Assault Weapons Ban fell far short of a majority. Democrats controlled the Senate 55–45, but the ban received just 40 votes. Sixteen Democrats joined 44 Republicans to vote it down.

From 2004 to 2012, Democrats intentionally retreated on gun control because they believed it was necessary to win elections. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Democrats still do not have the votes to pass the Assault Weapons Ban in the House of Representatives, where Democrats currently hold 235 seats.

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