Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) amendment to limit the purchase of some assault weapons will receive a vote on Wednesday evening.
He said he changed his mind on the weapons ban after a discussion with a friend who argued that some firearms should be left to police and the military.
“The wish to arm ourselves against the police that protect our streets is not a reason to support assault weapons,” Reid said. “The local police departments are not out to get us. These conspiracy theories are dangerous and should be put to rest.
“That is why I will vote for Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban because we must strike a balance between gun rights and protecting our children’s rights to live.”
The Senate will vote on nine amendments to S.649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools.
GOP senators have vowed to block the bill, claiming it goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun owners.
“The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday morning.
Reid also said he would also support a ban on high capacity ammunition clips. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced that amendment, which will also receive a vote on Wednesday.
Democrats have been pushing for stricter gun laws since December, when a gunman killed 20 first graders and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“I believe that if we can save the life of a single American, we owe it to ourselves to try,” Reid said. “Today I chose to vote my conscience because if tragedy strikes again, I’m sad to say it will, … I would have trouble living with myself.”