Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban bill
December 16th, 2012
11:43 AM ET
9 years 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)

    In the wake of Friday's tragedy in Connecticut the gun control bills are getting a burst of momentum. This is unfortunately stupid in the sense that while the bill will ban the selling of automatic weapons and the accessories that come with them, (the drums, magazines ect....) it will not do any good. While yes, it will stop the selling, there will always be ways for those people to get the weaponry they want, be it illegal or not. I'm in no way saying that the events that happened on Friday aren't tragic, but what this Senator and all those like her need to realize is that GUN'S DO NOT KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. If you take away the weapons of those who use them responsibly, this will not stop the killing. This bill is ignorant and infringes on the rights of the constitution.

    December 16, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. J. Olver

    Thank you Sen. Feinstein. I'm a California voter.

    December 16, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Name

    Here we go again let's disarm the law abiding citizens and leave guns in the hands of criminals only

    December 16, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Austin

    Remember, Columbine happened during the first assault weapons ban.... legislation does nothing to prevent crazy people from being crazy! This craze to restrict legal gun owner's rights will pass.

    December 16, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Bob Baker

    Let's ban anything that can kill, like cars, booze, government, this was a tragedy, but banning guns is not going to stop the killing. We need to enforce the laws we have already, that's a good place to start. You can call me stupid if you want but if we start banning guns cause they kill we will need to ban a whole lot of things that kill.

    December 16, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. J. Olver

    Proud gun owner's comments seem strange. All major economically developed countries have strict gun laws and guns are hard to get. Yet all of those counties have one tenth the gun deaths that the US has. If more guns would prevent gun deaths we should have fewer gun deaths than other countries since we have more guns by far. If bad people can always get guns why don't the bad people in Canada, Japan, UK, etc. all have guns? There is just no logic to Proud Gun Owner's statement.

    December 16, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Bonnie

    How about doing away with the violent video games, movies and TV shows. I don't have a problem with the assault weapon ban but that is only a small percent of the problem. I hope this would mean that Hollywood wouldn't be able to use these guns in tv and movie shows for that is where there are glorifying the killing at. Also we need to make our justice system work swifter and bring hard labor back to our prisons. Plus when criminals are in prisons that is suppose to be a punishment – do away with tv's, gyms and computers (computers only for educational classes).

    December 16, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Derp

    I can see where she is coming from, though the definition of 'assault weapon' is extremely broad; I can only imagine it will be taken to specific features of certain firearms that do not make said weapon any more lethal; a gun having a pistol-grip or tactical rails for example. A ten-round limit on magazines is taking things a bit far in my opinion. While it is true that the current legislation needs to be reviewed and the background check system overhauled, these are all short-term solutions. Finding out why these people snap and unlocking the secrets of the human mind is just as, if not more, important.

    An 'assault-weapons' ban such as this also takes into account that these weapons will be unavailable if the legislation was passed; a mere fantasy. Here in the five boroughs of NYC, we have some of the toughest gun-control laws on the books, and yet shootings continue day after day including a relatively recent case in which a gang-affiliated member shot three people to death with a semiautomatic ak47; something that should have been unattainable if the bans were effective.

    December 16, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. judy

    not one republican appeared on any of the major Sunday morning political shows to discuss gun safety laws. Does this tell us where this is going? The NRA has yet to make a statement. Strange because they have been making all kinds of statements when there was no reason to. Now they are silent. Do people really think their guns will be taken away? Time to stop conspiracy ideas and focus on improving mental health issues and assault weapons and clips that hold 30 and upwards of ammo. Everyone believes in the 2nd amendment but surely we can improve on safety issues and maybe make it a little harder to get some of these weapons. Everyone knows we can't stop this from happening altogether but instead of just wringing our hands lets at least try.

    December 16, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Name

    Assault weapons YES!!!! Handguns and general purpose hunting firearms, LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!! Why don't you examine violent video games, movies, schools and upbringing??? Why just firearms!!!

    December 16, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. lollyikens

    Ban the sale of assualt weapons and require background checks on all sales of guns, no exceptions!

    December 16, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. wow

    It takes a special kind of stupid to think that the ban of automatic wepons is gonna help us no wonder a lot of people call california comyfornia taking away our wepons is just gonna make things worse

    December 16, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    we must have more than a ban on clips and rifles, we must have the same type of law that covers auto ins. and one more, a 30 day waiting period, registration, class, written test, shooting test, yearly re-newal, transfer tax, license fee, and liability insurance.
    this law would protect the rights of gun owners and our babies and family members and gun shows will figure it out!

    December 16, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Letsdebate

    @proud gun owner.....indeed guns don't kill people, but people do, using the most effective means possible....., you heard me right, yes, guns! So if you regulate the availability of the means, it's no brainier you will reduce casualty. Just compare the number of people killed using guns, esp the assault stuff, vs all other means combined and the stats will leave you with no doubt the senator is spot on with the ban bill!

    December 16, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Anthony

    True, criminals can always get guns, but that does not mean that guns should be available to the mentally unbalanced. Some will argue that guns allow a 90-year-old grandmother to defend her home against an intruder. Guns also allow a mentally unbalanced 20-year-old man to kill 20 6- or 7-year-old kids.

    People with guns kill people faster. Gun ownership should be regulated, subject to a mental health requirement.

    December 16, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "If you take away the weapons of those who use them responsibly, this will not stop the killing."

    No doubt Adam Lanza's mother would agree with you ... if she hadn't been killed with the very weapons she purchased for her own protection.

    December 16, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. MaryM

    Thank you Senator Feinstein

    December 16, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. B.

    Your right that guns kill people, but the most important fundamental problem that is being ignored here is that this keeps happening because Of – Gun Access! If that 20 year old had not gotten the guns, this would not have happened, period!
    People can buy guns in this country like candy bars, without ant serious background checks, or even a reason to have one in the first place.
    You need only to look North to Canada to see what works!
    This will continue to happen because this country does not have the moral will to stop it, and a worthless Congress that is bought off by the NRA!
    A good measure of our countries decline is when elementary schools have to become Fortresses to keep our kids safe from morons with guns..

    So, spare me the tears and the Endless Church services on asking WHY did this happen? We know why it happens, easy Access to guns. Are we waiting for a hundred kids to be slaughtered?

    Lets do something about it NOW, or is the NRA and the gun industry controlling our lives?.

    December 16, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. ralph roma

    Dianne Feinstine is out of touch with reality. She and all of her liberal dinosaur constituents think that banning "assault weapons" is the answer. These so called assault weapons...though they may look menacing are nothing more than a semi automatic rifle. Doesn't matter if I have 1 40 round clip or 4 10 round clips..it only takes seconds to change. The problem is not with guns. The problem is with the sick derranged individuals wh are perpetrating these acts. If they couldn't get a gun...it would be a knife, baseball bat, stick, stone or can of gasoline. They need to work on a way to identify these sick individuals and remove them from society before they have a chance to act out their aggression on society.

    December 16, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. lee

    The bill will make it illegal to posses an assault type weapon unless you are law enf. They will then roll through the records of purchase and send you a letter to hand them into your local law enf. agency. the guns will be destroyed. There is no USE FOR THESE GUNS! we need to ban them

    December 16, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. amy

    No one is saying you can't have a gun for protection, but there is no reason for the average citizen to own an assault weapon. Also there should be better background checks for those who legally want to purchase guns. Another part of this issue is the mental health profession. Doctors should be able to commit people they think are a danger to themselves and others. I agree with Bonnie about violent video games being banned. When I was in school we learned about studies saying they made individuals desensitized to violence.

    December 16, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Thomas

    The NRA is out in full force today.

    Thank you Sen. Feinstein.

    December 16, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. jeff

    Its true, while banning assault weapons will not end all the gun violence. Why not make it harder for these crazy people to obtain these weapons?? I see no logic in this. No normal citizen needs these weapons!!! These weapons are manufactured for the specific purpose of killing people!!!! ONLY trained military and law enforcement should have access to these weapons.

    December 16, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. pinochled

    It's a mistake to grandfather high capacity magazines. Institute a buy back program. We need to get rid of them.

    December 16, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. steve

    LOL. I can hear the leadership of the NRA marching to Congress to buy or call in favors from America's leaders. As much as I would love to ban assault rifles, it will never happen. NRA will scare people into needing massive amounts of firepower to kill someone. You will not survive a break-in without a AK-47. Good luck Sen. Feinstein.

    December 16, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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