Warren Wrongly Claims Most Senators Supported 2013 Assault Weapons Ban

Only 40 voted for it, 15 Dems voted against

• September 13, 2019 1:50 pm


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) wrongly claimed at Thursday night's primary debate that a majority of U.S. senators supported an assault weapons ban in 2013.

Warren attributed what she viewed as lack of gun control measures to "corruption," calling Congress "beholden" to the gun lobby.

"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," she said. "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."

While Warren was right that a universal background check bill failed in 2013 after securing only 54 votes—6 shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster—only 40 U.S. senators voted for the assault weapons ban. Of the 60 who voted it down, 15 were Democrats and another was left-leaning independent Sen. Angus King (Maine).

At the time, the Democrats controlled the chamber with 55 votes. There were 53 Democratic senators and two independents caucusing with them: King and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).

President Barack Obama angrily denounced Congress that year for not passing the gun control measures in the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre. He accused opponents of lying about the legislation.

"All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," Obama said in the Rose Garden. "But this effort is not over."

Warren has embraced a variety of proposals to meet her stated goal of reducing gun violence deaths by 80 percent, such as universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, extreme risk protection laws, investment in "evidence-based community violence intervention programs," and a federal gun registration.

Former representative Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) said at the debate Thursday that his administration would confiscate every AR-15 and AK-47 rifle in the United States.