Congressional hearings on tighter gun laws to begin this week


Among the most contentious issues is a proposed ban on assault weapons.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein acknowledges the measure faces an uphill battle especially amongst pro-gun enthusiasts and the National Rifle Association. Nevertheless, she says public support is on her side.

"This has always been an uphill fight. This has never been easy. This is the hardest of the hard," Feinstein said. "I think I can get it passed because the American people are very much for it."

In addition to a ban on assault weapons, Feinstein's bill would prohibit 157 specific weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to take up the proposal on Wednesday. Members will hear from the head of the NRA, as well as Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in Arizona.

In the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. In December, President Barack Obama has pushed to expanded background checks, restoring the assault weapons ban and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. But members of his own party may thwart his hopes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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