Grassley planning gun violence bill that 'doesn't violate' rights of owners

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is preparing gun control legislation he will offer as an alternative to the package Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring to the floor for a vote next month.

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“Senator Grassley, along with other concerned members, is putting together an alternative bill that addresses gun violence in a manner that doesn’t violate the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in contrast to what appears to be in the bill proposed by the Majority Leader,” Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine told The Hill in an email.

Levine said the new legislation is still in the works and wouldn’t comment on what it might entail. 

Grassley, in the past, has supported a bipartisan measure cracking down on straw purchasing and illegal trafficking of firearms and legislation meant to increase safety in schools. A Republican-sponsored bill would also likely focus on measures aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

But Grassley’s bill would likely scale back legislation passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. 

In hearings, Republicans have picked apart some Democratic-sponsored bills they ended up supporting, claiming elements had “unintended consequences” that they say would be overly burdensome for law-abiding gun-owners.

Grassley and a majority of Republicans also oppose any ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity magazines. They argue the record keeping needed to implement universal background checks is a deal breaker because it amounts to a federal registry. 

Grassley has said the registry could lead to “confiscation,” a claim his Democratic counterparts strongly deny.

Grassley’s planned legislation complicates what has already become a sticky issue for congressional Democrats and the White House.

Calls to renew a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons and support for broader gun control reform intensified after the December killings of 26 people — including 20 children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Proponents of gun control fear that the urgency is fading, and that they’ve already conceded issues that they believe are central to meaningful reform.

Reid has begun packaging legislation based on the four gun control bills passed by Judiciary for a Senate vote. The federal assault weapons ban will not be a part of the base bill, and Reid has pressured Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to rope in Republican support for his background checks bill if it’s to be included.