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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Squigman

    With this happening a mire two days ago, couldn't it be possible that this discussion is ill timed at best, and completely inappropriate at worst? The best decisions are never made during times of emotional stress. There's a numbness running through the nation, and it needs to subside a little before the bickering starts.

    December 16, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. Tony

    I propose that we regulate gun ownership by linking it to driving. If people want to get a gun, they need to demonstrate that they can use the gun safely. You get a license just like driving. If people refuse, take away their driver licenses or don't let them renew their driver licenses. Sorry people, there is no constitutional right to drive. Congress should have the power to regulate the transportation of weapons of mass destruction on public roads. If people want to keep their assault or automatic weapons, they can't carry the weapons in their cars. Police and people on active duty in the military should be exempted, obviously.

    December 16, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Ronnie Harper

    Thank you Senator, it is not enough, but you will have the public support you need for this. We'll push the rest from a different angle.

    December 16, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  4. john vance

    I'm pretty ambivalent about gun control laws, simply because on a practical basis the cat's out of the bag. There are so many weapons already out there that trying to ban a few now isn't like closing the barn door after the cows are out, it's more like trying to close the door on a barn that was blown away in a tornado.
    Going after assault weapons or giant clips may be politically achieveable but anything else probably isn't going anywhere.

    December 16, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. Paul

    If you have an NRA sticker on the the back of your truck you need to take partial responsibility for the deaths of the children of Newtown. The cost of your false bravado is their blood.

    December 16, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. Shannon

    When you come here and support the rights of the murderer, instead of the rights of the victim, I really don't know how you look at yourselves in the mirror. It's truly disgusting that some people don't think of the children, they just think about their guns.

    December 16, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. futureman

    An assault weapons ban will be toothless unless all existing assault rifles and pistols that use clips are deemed llegal and will be turned in.. Gun free zones don't work because they are surrounded by gun free for all zones .Shotguns, single shot rifles and pistols should be allowed, these are legitimate hunting and defensive weapons....The gunnies and the gun shop pimps will not want to give up the war weapons so we are going to have to take them by force ...This will be civil war and the gunnes wlll be the confederates....Let's Roll!

    December 16, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. Terry Looney

    The news, family and friends are all talking about the horrors of CT. They are horrors but discussions of gun control is not the answer. Guns have changed over the centuries. Yes they are more powerful accurate and easier to use. But some other things have changed, Morality, Ethics and Laws.

    When you took prayer from the schools you also took away teachings of kindness, love of ones self and others and God. Our Government is about as useless as it can be. Congress passes laws and Judges rewrite them. Police arrest someone and they are back on the street before the paperwork is filed.

    At one time nut cases were locked away in the Looney Bin(no pun intended). Now you give them a pill and they are cured. This closes the nut houses and the money saved is used to give our politicians a life time pension they don't deserve. We used to hang murders and horse thieves. Now we slap them on the wrist and say "Go forth and sin no more". Well the shrinks have said psycos and pedophiles can't be cured.


    Look at the money we would save on prisons. Hell, we might even be able to give our military and public safety people a meaningful pay raise they HAVE EARNED AND DESERVE.

    December 16, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Mom

    It's a slippery slope we start taking some rights away "right to bare arms" and whats next? The constitution was made for a reason, to give people rights and not to be controlled by the government. I agree there are dangers everywhere you look but thats why we are to educate ourselves and our children on these things. I am not against putting metal detectors in places to keep us safe especially in our schools not just for guns but knives, educate our children on guns the good and the bad. Make better rules, more education on things, and safer conditions and things should get better. Take things away and it only makes them more wanted.

    December 16, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. The Truth Hurts!

    Yeah, since there are already too many firearms out there.. why bother stopping the production and sale of millions more?? And since "guns don't kill people, people kill people", we shouldn't demonize the gun manufacturers for putting incredibly lethal weapons in the hands of murderers..
    Yeah, instead of banning assault weapons, we should start selling bazookas and howitzers too!! I mean, Why Not..??!! What's the difference??!! Why can't I own my own tank? Or build my own missile cruiser..??

    When Will This Madness End?? How Many Innocents Must Be Slaughtered??

    Do you gun fanatics REALLY think that your "right" to hold and bear arms is what "keeps tyranny at bay"??
    Do you REALLY think that if the federal government, for whatever reason, came for you and your guns that you'd EVER stand a chance of deterring them??

    Personally, I'd love to see a ban on ALL personal firearms, and, an all-out effort made to have every single crack and crevasse of this country searched for said firearms – forcibly, if necessary. And then they should all be melted down
    Yes, I would absolutely LOVE to see the entire population disarmed! Even if it means S.W.A.T. teams have to be used coast-to-coast!!
    The ONLY people who should be in possession of a firearm of any kind, in this day and age, are law enforcement and the military!!

    December 16, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Liz the First

    No private citizen needs an assault rifle, period! but banning those weapons, or any otehr weapon, is only part of the answer. one thing that might help is for the news media to exercise a little restraint in covering these tragedies. the media feeding frenzies after these events are totally uncalled for. hours on end of being told how sad this is gets old really quick. and they probably contribute to the ideas in the sickest among us that doing something like this is their ticket into the history books. yes, cover them, but don't wallow in it for days trying to wring the last bit of emotion out of the whole country.

    December 16, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. donna rochester

    Thank you, Diane Feinstein. It is about time someone in Washington is brave enough to take on the gun lobbies. Here come all of the arguments about criminals always having guns but most of the mass shootings in the past few years haven't been committed by the "bad guys". They are committed by very sick individuals who should not have access to guns. Banning assault rifles won't prevent all gun crimes but it will drastically reduce the body count. And guns aren't the total problem, we need to stop sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to mental illness and learn to diagnose, treat and prevent. Problems aren't black and white, but we need to recognize the shades of gray and at least attempt to stop this madness.

    December 16, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Cory

    If these Gov't officials actually concentrated on real issues about this country.. It would probably stave of this type of behavior.. Just maybe... but staying popular and well fed by the Gov't is too good to tackle the actual tough issues...

    December 16, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Mom

    If someone in the school was properly trained and armed, he could have killed the guy or at least severely injure him so he'd stop shooting. If you take away the rights to bare arms, our rights, than more people are going to find themselves in more situations like these, no way to defend themselves against those that don't follow the law. I have rights so do you I wont try to control you and take your rights and you dont control me and take away my rights, I will protect my family regardless of what you say.

    December 16, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. frank thomas

    since everything is about money, every time their is a killing except by law enforcement, the military or proven self defense, The gun maker should be held responsible and libel for all damages. The lawyers will love this one, just think 26 lawyers suing the makers of any and all weapons used in this massacure, The rewards to the families will be in the millions and hurt gun makers where it hurts most ,in the good old pocketbook, In this country and world the only real thing that really works is MONEY.

    December 16, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Ari

    It'll never pass the House of Representatives. Dead on Arrival.

    December 16, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. donwhitebread

    Missing from the debate is what possible good purpose these assault weapons serve. They only belong in the hands of HIGHLY trained military personell for use in war. Unless you want to buy into the loony excuses we're given about UN takeovers and the Zombie Apocalypse, there is absolutely no use for these weapons in civilian hands.

    December 16, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. will

    Safety at schools, daycares , etc. should always be top priority, so what those facilities and institutions need to implement are keyless entry mechanisms, a locked door policy, emergency contingency programs (e.g. all doors automatically unlock in case of a fire), and other real and modern safety precautions to prevent unauthorized entry. With current technology, we are capable of not only implementing these things, but we can make sure the process of authorization of entry, roll call, weapons search, etc is fair and efficient.

    December 16, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Gurgyl


    December 16, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Mom

    Also if our schools were safegaurded by metal detectors (and other places) it doesnt take away our rights it protects us. If it's ok at the airport why not in our schools to protect our children? We need to educate ourselves on proper gun use, educate our children about guns, the good and the bad.good( how to use for protection) bad(shooting others isnt fun it kills and hurts many people.) We've gotten lazy with our education. I will protect my family and educate my children, please I reccommend you do the same. Don't be controlled, we have rights.

    December 16, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Cory

    There is a reason the President avoids these issues... Because senators attacking the constitution is a no win battle.. Maybe the NRA or other large association should petition a ban on free speech and attack the 1st Amendment.. So we don't have to hear or see this ignorance. Just another senator from a failing state to try to gain popularity on an issue so many are ignorant about...But seems to gain the support from those that think it's a nice pretty country and the bad guys will just turn in all weapons and illegal drugs because we say so... How does a fairy tale person gain an elected position? I guess this senator has never gotten a speeding ticket or other violation? If your into wasting your time.. Put a bill forth to eliminate cars that go over 5 MPH...

    December 16, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. puftwaffe

    I fail to see why the original assault weapons ban was worthy of Feinstein's praise for the simple reason that it did not produce a statistically significant difference in gun violence, both when it was enacted and expired. And if the proposed new ban is highly similar (most importantly, not retroactively applied), how can the results be expected to be much different? Quite simply, this is all about politicians desperately trying to be seen as "doing something" while actually accomplishing very little.

    December 16, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. John chelozzi

    I be been in many countries but I never saw a country. With so many stupid people.your s constitution was written over 200 years ago life change,rules should change to be relevant.Weapons belong to the army and the police not to untrained morons.

    December 16, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. James

    The federal government does not have the constitutional right to pass in laws. Patrick Henry led the way by getting the bill of rights passed o make ht a function of the state govt.

    December 16, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Go figure . . .

    In Israel, where there are terrorist acts committed daily, we don't have such horrible incidents against school children. We do, however, have armed school teachers and even armed parent volunteers in schools. Once this program began, several attempts were made against the school, all of which ended poorly for the criminals. Now they do not occur. We have tried the 'gun-free' zones, which really seem like a logical, sensible idea. But the problem is, those who would do harm aren't interested in the laws. Are not drugs such as heroine and cocaine illegal in the US federal level? Do people still get hold of them and use them in the US?

    Our condolences to all who are injured in such a horrible act.

    December 16, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34