Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban bill
December 16th, 2012
11:43 AM ET
1 year ago

Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban bill

(CNN) – Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Sunday the president will soon have legislation "to lead on" in the gun control debate, announcing she will introduce a bill next month in the Senate to place a ban on assault weapons.

"We'll be prepared to go, and I hope the nation will really help," Feinstein said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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The senator said she'll introduce the bill when Congress reconvenes in January and the same legislation will also be proposed in the House of Representatives.

"We're crafting this one. It's being done with care. It'll be ready on the first day," she said, adding that she'll soon announce the House authors.

"It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession. Not retroactively, but prospectively. It will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets," she said. "There will be a bill."

Gun rights legislation has gained renewed attention since Friday's deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 students and six adults dead.

Many lawmakers and politicians have called for stricter gun control laws at the federal level, including a revisit to the 1994 former assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 but has yet to be reinstated.

Feinstein, who helped champion the 1994 legislation, said she and her staff have looked at the initial bill and tried to "perfect it."

"We believe we have (perfected it). We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not fall under the bill, but the purpose of this bill is to get … 'weapons of war' off the street of our cities," she said.

The senator added she believes President Barack Obama will support the legislation. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama said he would support such a ban, but he has been criticized for failing to work toward tighter gun control laws since taking office.

After Friday's shooting, however, the president signaled a change in policy could soon be in place.

"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said in his weekly address Saturday, echoing remarks he made Friday after the tragedy.

Feinstein on Sunday praised the assault weapons ban of 1994 for surviving its entire 10-year term and predicted a successful future for her upcoming bill.

"I believe this will be sustained as well," she added. "You know, all of the things that society regulates, but we can't touch guns? That's wrong."


Filed under: Congress • Dianne Feinstein • Gun rights
soundoff (828 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    (1) There is no such thing as an assault weapon. A semi-auto rifle is a semi-auto rifle. We already have legislation that greatly limits private ownership of fully automatic weapons.

    (2) A magazine over 10 rounds is not necessarly "high capacity" as for many guns, "standard capacity" is higher than 10. Thus, a Glock 17 has a standard capacity of 17, putting a 33 round long mag in it would be "high capacity" while a 10 round mag is "reduced capacity."

    (3) I challenge Mrs. Feinstein to walk around the seedier parts of LA (a city in her own state which already has a 10 round magcap) without a firearm or armed bodyguards. It is her state – she should feel safe walking about it.

    (4) If Mrs. Feinstein truely thinks a 10 round magcap is appropriate and sufficient for self defense, will she be willing to extend that cap to LE and the Military (so that our ability to overthrow a tyrranous government is not impeaded)?

    December 17, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Ben

    Looks like I need to pickup something soon before I can no longer do so.

    Either that or wait a few more years for the ban to go away, which it will eventually go away....like always.

    December 17, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Ray

    This was not a lawful gun owner, he broke the law the moment he started this in motion. Maybe instead of punishing 99% of the population we look at arming the principals in our schools and teach them how to use it. That is the only way I see how to prevent these acts of a coward. I find it sad that those anti-gun people get mad at gun owners when an insane person does something like this. This isn't a guns fault, this isn't a gun owners fault. This is the fault of a very disturbed individual. Maybe even do some checking on the facts about guns and violence. Making a decision based on emotion and not facts is how a bad decision is made. I don't want to live in a place where a criminal can have a gun and I can't.

    December 17, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Wes Scott

    The 9-11 terrorists did not use "assault weapons." Should we also ban box cutters and airplanes?

    December 17, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    One of the main issues with bills like this is they are written by people that don’t know what they are talking about. These fools call anything that looks ‘scary’ an a.ssualt rifle. (adding TYPE to it is only fooling the ignorant) Just another scummy politician taking advantage of a tragedy. Where was your bill last year?

    December 17, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Amazing

    While I support the move to limit access to assualt style weapons, we must not let the issue of how we deal with mental health be lost in the noise. In the Newtown and Aurora shootings, mental illness is a significant factor in the tragedies that occurred.

    December 17, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. ohio voter

    I will completely support a reasonable bill on this. Feinstein you have my support. I live in a town so much
    like Newtown–and i drove my children to school today thinkiing of the latest tragedy and thinking this
    absolutely has to stop. The NRA can take a hike. Sure people will kill people but why in the world
    make every option easily available to them. It's like saying now kids don't start a fire and then leaving
    matches and sticks all over the house. stupid. stupid. It has to stop. This was outrageous beyond imagination.
    I am as angry with the mother as i am with ridiculous right wing drivel on this one. Feinstien as i wrote
    before, you have my support on this.

    December 17, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Just a thought
    You gun lovin twits...get over yourselves. There are parents with broken hearts. If allowing every one access to guns were the answer, think about the fact that the shooter stole his mom's guns and promptly shot her.

    Exactly… he STOLE them. As it has been stated over and over to you thick headed morons. People that commit these tragedies don’t care about your gun laws. For the record scrub.. I’m a left leaning independent. Use your brain not your emotions. If you think banning guns is going to make them disappear you’re an even bigger moron than you come off. . Just ask the residents of Chicago or NYC.

    December 17, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Brooks

    Yeah, that's what we need to do. Why? Because those guns walk into crowded areas and begin firing, on their own, with no assistance, all by themselves. I wonder how deaths due to automatic weapons numerically compare to deaths due to alcohol. I wonder how deaths due to automatic weapons compare numerically to deaths due to cancer caused by tobacco. Until we get control of these two things which, I am quite certain, are responsible for many, many, many times more deaths than automatic weapons, then gun control is nothing more than a talking point to be used for political leverage by politicians either trying get elected or re-elected. But, since those same politicians are receiving much more "under-the-table" money from the tobacco and alcohol industries than they are from the gun industry, it is a much more attractive target for the politicians.

    December 17, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Larry Trickel

    Wonder why Senator Feinstein is focusing on "assualt weapons" when none have been used in the mass shootings? All the shooters have had mental problems....so why not focus on this issue? Just goes to show you how shallow our Congressional Leaders and President are.

    December 17, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Thinker

    Gun nuts once again showing their cowardice. Too scared to to give up their guns, no matter how many victims their are. 20 dead children is just another days work for the NRA.

    December 17, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Larry L

    The N.R.A. crowd always ridicules the use of the term "assault rifle" and denies that any of their "black guns" are assault weapons. These semantics are easy to fix. The weapons in question are semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with the capability to fire at a high rate. This would include all center-fire weapons with more than 5 rounds on the internal weapon and a magazine system allowing rapid reloading – including stripper clips. This would not include those loaded into a tubular magazine or those loaded into a integral magazine that holds less than five rounds (plus one in the chamber). This would not include rim-fire weapons of normal velocities. The pistols in question include those with large capacity magazines. Pistols are a greater challenge to regulate because an accomplished shooter can produce a very high rate of fire by quickly exchanging magazines.

    December 17, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. UDidntBuildThat

    It is stunning to me the stupidity of this country. I came here legally!!! fr a country where guns are illegal!! It does NOT stop the drug lords, murderers, robbers, rapist etc fr getting them and plenty of them.! What we are ignroing is that the generation today have NO MORAL COMPASS!! They do not respect their elders they are not taught manners or respect and there are not parenting!!!
    What possess a child to shoot his own mother in the face? What is the mentality of that child to kill another child. Do u think if there were no guns in the home he would not have found a way to get them?!!!
    The breakdown of the family unit is the other issue who are raising, supervising, monitoring the kids when mom is working 2 jobs and there is no other parent? Women are being told oh u don't worry Julia we will take care of all your needs. Have you babies and food stamp, rent, gas, phone, tv we will give it all to u.

    To blame guns and say oh just ban assault weapons & problem solve is just ignoring the real issues of this society. No ban in the world is going to prevent this fr happening again. You people calling for ban on guns are not interested in solving the real issues only interested in scoring political points.

    December 17, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Bob

    If it does what they say it does it's pointless. They didn't even mention high capacity MAGAZINES. They're banning "assault rifles". Rarely anyone uses assault rifles in crimes. Most crimes are committed using semi-automatic weapons. Pointless feel good legislation written by people who don't know anything about firearms.

    December 17, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Wprophet

    What is obvious to me, and it is true with this recent tragedy, is that the perps, except for Capt Muslim, have all been Democrats. The Democrat "celebrities" who are politicizing this tragedy, following the Jerk Rahm Emanuel, all have armed guards protecting their worthless carcasses. It is plain, Democrats ought to be prohibited from owning firearms – there is obviously a mental disorder that keeps them from assimilating facts and seeing the root cause of the issues. Being a Democrat may be a good place to start looking for these potential terrorists.

    December 17, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want.

    It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It's time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser. It's time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas when we're losing the war at home ... For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change." Joe Scarborough 12/17/2012

    Well said. And thank you for putting our children, America's children first. They are our future. It is our responsiblity to protect our children; our citizens ... not guns. Never guns.

    December 17, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Greg

    How can we live in a country where it is illegal to smoke in a public place due to the possilbe affects of second hand smoke, but it's legal to carry concealed hand guns and to own assault rifles? Why isn't everyone up and arms about having their rights as smokers taken away from them? Years ago, no one belived that it would ever be possible to have smoking in bars prohibited, but we are there and our democracy still has survived. The same is possible with gun control. We first have to believe that it's possible.

    December 17, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Jon

    Do you really think American are just going to hand over their guns to the government. Haha. That would cause a Civil War in this counter !!!!!!!

    December 17, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. buddy

    The line that 'guns don't kill people, people do' is not a defense of allowing assault weapons. According to this logic 'nuclear bombs don't kill people, people do' but I don't see people having a problem with those being illegal. Any chance for one person to kill a multitude of others in an instant (whether by assault weapon or otherwise) should not be allowed. I have a hard time believing this is even defendable.

    December 17, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. scoto

    The assault weapons thing is nonsense. Connecticut already has the former "assault weapons" ban in effect and look what happened. Its a political piece of posturing put together to make people think something is being done. It addresses trivia such as whether guns can have bayonet lugs or not on them. If you want to make a difference the gun controls havde to be drastic in this country to reduce these tragedies.

    December 17, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. rs

    If this latest gun-related atrocity leads to more restrictive gun laws, the gun lobby and the kooks of the NRA have only themselves to blame. They have done a crappy job of policing themselves and their gun-toting membership and the people they advocate to buy and sell firearms. They have not only refused to acknowledge the need for even basic gun controls but actually promote more guns and more powerful guns, and armor-piercing ammunition as a solution. In the simplest of terms, the mentally ill should not have access to weapons. If this makes buying a gun more like getting a driver's license, or a buying a house, or applying for work, so be it. Private gun sales and gun show sales where no background checks can be performed must end, no more 2nd party purchases.

    Look, we ought to support the 2nd Amendment where practical. It is afterall part of our Constitution. It is useful to remember however that firearms of the period took at least a minute to reload. 30 bullet clips, rapid fire weapons and assault rifles along with "cop killer" ammo. are NOT needed by anyone. Please don't try the "cars kill people too" BS. Guns have but one purpose: to kill. they are tools of death. Anyone denying that is foolish.
    The insanity must stop!
    The adults must take charge.

    December 17, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. GOP = Greed Over People

    The mall shooter was NOT confronted by a concealed gun carrier. There was a 22 year old with a concealed fun that had drawn his gun while hiding behind a column. He noticed there was movement behind the shooter and was afraid he would hit them if he missed the shooter. When the shooter toted him, he ran to a store and hid.

    Nice try, but you are projecting what makes your a agenda shine in a favorable light.

    Not judging the young man either, he did what he should have done, as he is not a trained law enforcement officer.

    December 17, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Michael

    No One Needs An Assault Rifle in the US. They haven’t been very effective anyway.

    Keep your hunting rifles and sport guns.
    For those who say they “need” assault rifles to defend their homes…

    1. How many intruders, robbers, burglar or murders have been stopped by a home owner with an assault rifle? Not just last week, pick your time frame.

    2. How many people have been murdered by an assault rifle? Not just last week, pick your time frame.

    Think about it.

    December 17, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. Canuck

    " I have never seen so many people in that gun store in my life. Families, professional looking people of all kinds were in there looking to buy guns."

    I hope you Americans are proud of yourselves.

    December 17, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Kip

    Criminals will ALWAYS get what they need when they need it. Look at Chicago's gun laws, the most restrictive in the nation! Yet the murder rate has climbed to record numbers! The guns have NEVER been the issue...mental health is an issue when crazy people can still buy guns legally. Arm everybody who can pass a psychological exam and tragedies like Newtown, CT will be on a much smaller scale. Imagine the faculty shooting back and maybe preventing a single child from being killed, now tell me how that is worse than what happened!? Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.(Plato)

    December 17, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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