The Senate, virtually finishing a major anti-crime bill, voted for a second time to ban nine assault weapons and approved the death penalty for major drug "kingpins."
A late-night effort to finish the bill Thursday failed and a final vote was set for July 11 for the legislation that had been declared all but dead three weeks ago. Only one possible amendment, dealing with more enforcement manpower in the savings and loan scandal, was left pending.The Senate voted 50-48 for the ban on the semi-automatic assault weapons, a weapon of choice for criminals and drug dealers, in a final defeat for the administration and the National Rifle Association, which now will have try to kill the prohibition in the House.
The Senate also approved, 87-12, an amendment that provides mandatory prison sentences, life imprisonment or death in case of murder, when a firearm is used in a violent or drug-related crime. The proposal also calls for mandatory sentences for dealers who sell drugs to children.
In a flurry of activity, the Senate increased to 31 the number of crimes for which the federal death penalty can be imposed.
The Senate approved, 66-32, an amendment that provides the death penalty for "major drug dealers" even if there is no direct link to a killing.
But the Senate rejected by 55-43 an amendment permitting executions of persons convicted of murder during violation of someone's civil rights.
The long-running campaign by Sen. Mark Hatfield, R-Ore., to abolish the death penalty for all federal crimes and substitute a mandatory life sentence was again defeated, 73-25.