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Top House Dem: Gun show regs, magazine ban will pass, 50-50 on assault weapons ban

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Gun Control

Gun control is coming to the nation, in the form of new regulations on gun shows and a ban on high-capacity magazines, according to a top House Democratic Leader. But Rep. Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said there is just a 50-50 chance the House will OK the ban.

"In terms of assault weapons, I think there is at least a 50-50 chance we will act," said Levin, the Michigan Democrat who in the past has earned an "F" from the National Rifle Association for his gun control advocacy. His prediction echoed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments that passage was unclear in the House.

But Levin confidently said that the House would go along with increasing regulations on gun shows, approve increased "surveillance" on those who buy guns, and endorse the president's demand that gun magazines holding over 10 bullets be banned.

"What's realistic?" he said at a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "I think that we will pass some major provision, I think in terms of magazines. I think we can do that. I think in terms of more clear surveillance in terms of who can buy. I think gun shows will come under regulation," he said.

Despite some polls that show little or no change in the public's attitude about gun control since the December killings by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Levin declared that "the ground shifted on gun control."

A Pew Poll released late Monday, however, showed little shift. Support to "control gun ownership" went up just 4 percent to 51 percent after the shootings. Support for gun control has been far higher in past Pew polls, reaching 60 percent in April 2007.

What's more, support to protect the rights of gun owners has increased since the shooting, from 42 percent to 45 percent, said Pew. "This balance of opinion is virtually unchanged from mid-December when, in the immediate wake of the Newton, Conn. shooting, public opinion shifted modestly in the direction of gun control," said Pew.