Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday that there was absolutely "zero" chance of Congress passing an assault weapons ban anytime soon.
Durbin said he supports a ban on assault weapons, but that he saw no political possibility for moving such legislation.
Durbin said there could "perhaps" be a debate on an assault weapons ban, "perhaps a vote, but not even close to passing."
Legislation banning assault weapons was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994 but expired in 2004.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has renewed his push for legislation — co-sponsored by Durbin — that would ban high-capacity gun magazines. The shooter in Aurora, Colo., allegedly used high-capacity magazines.
Some Democrats have also called on wide gun reforms such as tougher screenings for people seeking to buy guns and an assault weapons ban.
But both top Democrats and Republicans and President Obama himself have said that Congress would not pass gun reform laws this cycle.
"The White House has made clear that they are not going to use this horrific event to push for legislation," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday. "And I agree."