January 27th, 2013
10:57 AM ET
1 year ago

Feinstein: NRA is 'venal'

(CNN) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday described the National Rifle Association as the biggest stumbling block to passing her assault weapons ban proposal.

"The NRA is venal. They come after you, they put together large amounts of money to defeat you," she said on CNN's "State of the Union." "They did this in '93, and they intend to continue it."

Feinstein on Thursday introduced details on a ban that would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semiautomatic rifles. It would also limit the number of rounds in a magazine to 10.

The restrictions would not apply to guns owned before enactment of any law. Feinstein noted her proposal exempts from the ban more than 2,000 models used for hunting or sporting purposes.

In order for the proposal to go anywhere, Feinstein needs enough support from conservative Democrats, who will likely face intense lobbying from the NRA and other pro-gun groups.

While she recognized Sunday that passing the ban will be an "uphill fight" and the "hardest of the hard," she expressed confidence that she can at least get it to the Senate floor.

"There will be a package put together. If 'assault weapons' is left out of the package - and I'm a member of (the) Judiciary (committee), No. 2 in seniority - I've been assured by the majority leader I'll be able to do it as an amendment on the floor."

Feinstein helped push through the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. She argued Sunday that the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last month was the tipping point in getting the ban reinstated.

"For me Sandy Hook was an epiphany," she told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "(The gunman) got a very powerful weapon. He went out with that weapon, and he killed 5- and 6- and 7-year-olds, I understand, with three to 11 bullets in each of their bodies, with a weapon that had the velocity of which could really rip these bodies apart. That should not be able to happen."

Vice President Joe Biden, who also helped champion the original assault weapons ban, expressed support for the ban on Thursday. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that his legislative agenda to curb gun violence included a ban on assault weapons and a cap on magazine capacity.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, railed against Obama's inauguration speech, in which the president made a brief reiteration of his push for gun control.

"When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone's graffiti," LaPierre said in a speech Tuesday. "Words do have meaning, Mr. President. And those meanings are absolute, especially when it comes to our Bill of Rights."

Feinstein, however, said Sunday it boils down to one question: "Does government have an obligation to protect those children?"

"I believe we do," she continued. "I believe we do."

– CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Gun control • Gun rights • Senate • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. plain&simple

    Let's all roll over and take it like scared puppies....the NRA is big and bad! So everyone who doesn't own as many guns as possible is subject to the will of the gun owner. Yes only gun owners rights matter! Everyone else just deal with it and do nothing!!! Sounds about right according to the NRA.

    January 27, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. rla

    USA bankrupt, 50% of the population supports the other 50%, we borrow .47 cents of every dollar we spend and this is what these fools are focused on!

    January 27, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Bastrop Texas where the murder rate is zero

    In 1992, Feinstein was fined $190,000 for failure to properly report campaign contributions and expenditures associated with her California gubernatorial campaign, which she lost. She is a criminal. End of discussion.

    January 27, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Yeoomala

    The GOP and NRA love dictatorships where you have to follow their rules and laws or you aren't worth anything in their eyes. They don't believe in limited government – its only a buzz line for campaigns.

    January 27, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. JDalco

    Yes, DAMN those folks for standing up for their rights against the god Feinstein. . . Don't they know she is smarter than them and they need to just be good little slaves and do as they are told? How dare they question their betters like this!

    January 27, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Dave

    "The NRA is venal" says the Senator from California. If that's not the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is.

    January 27, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. markntx

    I have yet to hear a LOGICAL answer as to why Americans need assualt weapons and high capacity magazines. Our 2nd admendment right? So we can own tanks and RPGs, right? Protect yourself from our evil government? Their nukes against your AR15?

    But the NRA buys politicians who then have the FauxNews and Limbaugh sheep spouting what they're told to believe. Regardless of common sense.

    January 27, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Nicholas Smith

    Venal, huh. Well, it takes one to know one.

    January 27, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. NoTags

    No Senator Feinstein, the NRA is not your biggest problem when you try to usurp the rights of law abiding citizens, your biggest problem is the 96,000,000 gun owners who are not NRA members. Many of these 96,000,000 are not registered voters, but will be registered voters before 2014.

    You have awaken the 'sleeping giant' who will go to the polls in 2014 and put those of you who want to trample our 2nd amendment rights out of office.

    January 27, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. eric davis

    Feinstein disgusts me. Using the death of children to push her fascist agenda. There is a long list of things that kill children you can find at the CDC or other sites. Deaths by assault rifles will be nearly at the very bottom of the list.

    Why doesnt Feinstein put all this money and effort into things that kill children at 100X the rate assault rifles do??

    Because she doesnt care about children, only her agenda and power grabs. She wants to disarm law abiding citizens while leaving the criminals armed to prey on us. Yeah, that will help!

    January 27, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. joe

    In the era when the Constitution was being written, there were no state police or national guard or anything of the sort. When it was necessary to put together a group of armed men to confront a problem, the governors and local officials had to be able to issue a call to arms in which case private citizens would assemble with their own guns. This is what the second amendment is about. It doesn't mean you can own military assault weapons capable of blowing away all of Washington's army in fifteen minutes. It guarantees the right to own a flint lock rifle in case the governor needs to form a militia.

    January 27, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Nicholas Smith

    God bless the NRA.
    We in the NRA are protecting the rest of you from politicians like Feinstein.
    It has been written, "Politicians that fear an armed public, should."

    January 27, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Fox News Megyn Kelly broke down in tears for Sandy Hook shooting, not only her every reporters broke down in tears, Male or Female , local or national news in front of camera they couldn’t control.
    Americans around the country watching Sandy Hook coverage broke down in tears
    Time for us to do the right thing

    January 27, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. Lee

    Shall not be infringed.

    January 27, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. tomnikoly

    "They did this in '93, and they intend to continue it."

    That's why the original assault rifle ban was flawed an ineffectual and other laws are watered down. Times have changed however.

    Less than 1% of the PAC money spent by the NRA in the November election yielded results that they wanted. They are not the big, bad ogre to be feared anymore. They scared and desperate.

    January 27, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. joe

    I suspect Bastrop TX is where the IQ rate is also zero. End of discussion.

    January 27, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. korkea aika

    Violent people love violence, and they will see ways to murder, kill, terrorize until the peace-loving majority stands up. If we can't find time to vote in a primary election, then we deserve to be shot in a movie theater.

    January 27, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Pete

    The AR-15 was not used in the Sandy Hook shooting.

    January 27, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Richard Jorgensen

    They may be venal but she is anal. Not to mention a hypocrite. If all you anti-gun tards are so afraid of my guns, move to the UK, just be ready to get agg assaulted more than here.

    January 27, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Andrew Hyatt Masset

    Love how the assault mob immediately go after the messenger and not the message. Pure republiklan neocon playbook. So, lets let the profiteers of mass killings use our money to continue to massacre innocents and guilty alike as long as they have their pound of flesh..literally. Paranoia, hatred, racism and delusion is the spine of these mad people and they will kill any and all for the sheer pleasure of conquest.

    January 27, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Polymathicguy

    In Utah, the firearm density is among the highest in the US yet, the gun murder rate is 1.4 per 100,000 compared to 1.2 in the UK – this difference is statistically insignificance. Leave us alone.

    January 27, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Name

    It should be up to the states to protect its people not the government ..

    January 27, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Proud2BeAmerican

    No one will take my guns and my God. I also reject Darwinism, the Theory of Relativity, and White Wine. My country was founded on Guns and Whiskey. I also reject Oprah. And Matt Damon.

    January 27, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. wrm

    "the National Rifle Association as the biggest stumbling block to passing her assault weapons ban proposal."

    ...which is exactly the reason I keep paying my dues.

    January 27, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. bkgrandma

    Maybe thats because nobody has ever heard of Bastrop, Texas! Does this guy really believe she lost because she did not report campaign contributions or is he just another Texas member of the NRA trying to convience people that the NRA didn't spend millions to get her defeated?

    January 27, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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