I understand: any new law has to pass BOTH houses of congress. The House is 2/3 republican. The chances of another AWB passing into law is ZERO, ZERO, ZERO.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is a co-sponsor of the latest AWB. Republican is not synonymous with pro-gun and there are only 220 NRA A-rated Reps in the House. Given the number of formerly A-rated Senators now pushing gun control in the Senate, I would not assume anything is a done deal at this point.
Sen. Majority Leader Reid has 7 Democrat Senators running for re-election in 2014 in pro-gun states. The vote itself doesn't do his reelection campaign any favors. Yet the Dem leadership is demanding a floor vote. Do you think they would be doing that if they felt there was even a 90% chance the bill dies in the House anyway?
The Democrats are not yet at the point where they can throw 7 Senate seats on the sacrificial fire of pointless symbolism. So my assumption is the Democrats think it is to their benefit to have a Senate floor vote.