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Jul 22, 2012 12:22 PM by Matt Stafford

Senator: Election year not ideal for gun debate

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the nation needs to have a "sane" discussion on gun control and ban military-style assault weapons. But the California Democrat acknowledges that probably won't happen before the November election.

Feinstein tells a Sunday morning national political talk show that "people haven't rallied" in years because of the power and reach of the gun lobby, and that with the election looming, "it's a bad time to embrace a new subject."

President Barack Obama called for reinstating the ban during his 2008 presidential campaign. But since his election, he hasn't worked to get that done or back other proposals.

Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson challenged Feinstein on the talk show by saying the issue wasn't about guns, but rather "sick, demented individuals." Feinstein disagreed, saying "people use these weapons because they can get them."

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