Reid To Introduce Gun Control Legislation With Background Checks

Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will move forward with Senate Democrats' gun control legislation, a move designed to set the Senate up to start working on the controversial legislation when they return from recess on April 8.

The bill will include a proposal for universal background checks, a controversial measure that faces an uphill climb in the Senate.

Democratic leadership aides say Reid is still leaving the door open to replace the language on background checks, as passed this month out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with a compromise package, should one emerge over the next few weeks.

"I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed," Reid said in a statement Thursday. "If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill. But I want to be clear: in order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks."

Also included in the bill will be straw purchasing and trafficking provisions, aides say.

The base bill will not include the controversial ban on assault weapons, as decided this week by Senate Majoirty Leader Harry Reid.

But the assault weapons ban will get its vote, Reid promises - as President Obama did, as an amendment to the bill. "Once debate begins, I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes, along with other amendments. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do," Reid said in a statement.