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Here's The Democrats' Plan To Pass Gun Control In The Senate

Senior Hill aides describe Harry Reid's strategy.

Posted on April 12, 2013, at 3:47 p.m. ET

It has been almost 20 years since Congress has taken up the topic of gun control legislation.

As the new debate over gun control heats up, senior Senate aides on both sides of the issue laid out advocates’ plan to get their bill through the Senate.

Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT

The strategy advocated by gun control supporters in the Senate was described to BuzzFeed by two senior Republican Senate aides working to oppose the effort, and confirmed by a Democratic Senate leadership aide working to get it passed.

Prospects for the gun control legislation weren't looking good until the recent Toomey/Manchin proposal.

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

The legislation proposed by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin would expand background checks for those looking to purchase guns, while providing some exemptions.

The new Toomey/Manchin language will replace the old background-check language currently in the bill, and it will be championed as bipartisan.

Allison Shelley / Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will then call for a cloture vote on the legislation with the new language in place. He expects to get the votes he needs.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Reid will then bring up the highly controversial Assault Weapons Ban championed by Sen. Diane Finestein (D-CA).

Yuri Gripas / Reuters

A ban on high-capacity magazines will also be offered as an amendment.

Charles Krupa / AP

Both of these amendments are expected to go down in flames. And Senate aides said that's by design on Reid's part.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

By voting against these measures, conservative and moderate Democrats, like Sen. Mary Landrieu, will be able to position themselves as pro-gun.

Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Those votes are also designed to give cover to Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who hails from one of the most gun-friendly states in the country.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

These members will be able to return home and say they voted against the most controversial aspects of the legislation.

Charles Krupa / AP

Then, after covering for his members, Reid will bring the bill to the floor for final passage.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Meanwhile, the White House will run interference, building as much public support as it can for the bill.

Senate Republicans who oppose all new gun control legislation will be in a tough position.

Gary Cameron / Reuters

The Senate will debate heavily, with Reid needing at least five Republican votes to pass the final version of the bill.

CBS News, Chris Usher / AP

If Reid passes the bill, it will be by razor-thin margins. This is something the Senate has become accustomed to.

Allison Shelley / Getty Images

Of course, the bill will then head to the Republican-controlled House, where it will face clear challenges.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

But no matter what the outcome, gun control will surely be one of the most heated political debates Washington has seen in a while.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.