Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced support for an assault weapons ban Wednesday, a change in his position.
“I’ll vote for the ban because saving the lives of police officers, young and old, and innocent civilians, young and old, is more important than preventing imagined tyranny,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.
The statement marked a reversal for Reid, who voted against renewing the assault weapons ban in 2004. Earlier this year, Reid opted against bringing an assault weapons ban penned by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to the floor.
Reid said he had had to “reassess” his position after listening to the arguments against an assault weapon ban and deciding that they were “absurd.”
“The right to own a gun to protect your home and your family, to hunt, to go target practicing, I’ll continue to defend that right as long as I’m serving the people of Nevada,” Reid said. “But…you do not need an assault weapon to defend yourself or your property. Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only: to kill a large number of people really quick. This goes well beyond the purpose of self-defense.”
“The wish to arm ourselves against the police who keep our streets safe is not a reason to oppose an assault weapons ban. I believe that as Americans, we have a right to arm ourselves against criminals, but we don’t need the ability to arm ourselves against the army or the police. The United States military is not out to get us. Federal law enforcement, local police departments are not out to get us. These conspiracy theories are dangerous and they should be put to rest.”
“I’ll vote for the ban because maintaining the law and order is more important than satisfying conspiracy theorists who believe in black helicopters and false flags,” he said.
The Senate is expected to vote on an assault weapons ban Wednesday afternoon. The legislation is unlikely to pass.