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)
  1. Mark R.

    If she (or they) think this will stop these types of events from happening, they are sadly mistaking. All they will do is push the black market sales of those types of weapons into high gear. Criminals don't care about the laws or what is allowed. This is foolish talk from a foolish Senator. Anyone who sides with her (they) is foolish, if they think this will stop. Just this past week, a Chinese man killed 20 kids with a KNIFE... What is next, them banding knifes. Look, people will find a way to kill people PERIOD! It maybe a gun, a knife, a pipe bomb, or poison. Instead of trying to pass idiotic laws that won't work, why don't they pass laws that make those targets safer. Armed security guards; check in points with passes; instant door locks that one teacher can activate for the whole school at once with safe zones that can be done for those outside of the rooms. Remember your freedoms and freedom does NOT come cheap! Being armed is a way to insure those freedoms stay there. Once you start to give up your friends, they will keep chipping away at them thinking it is ok to....

    December 16, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. Donald Berrian

    This may be good politics but it is unlikely to accomplish anything. We allowed pilots to carry guns after 9/11 to protect themselves. Did that make any difference? The reporting of things like this seem to inspire copy cats but no one is proposing muzzling the press. A random act of legislation isn't going to solve a problem no one understands.

    December 16, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. CTSadler

    To all the gun nuts who are saying "guns make America safer," I'm sorry. Your way of thinking is no longer in the majority and now, the majority of this nation, the sane and responsible, the ones who don't want to live in your fear, will have our say. There has never been a need to have weapons that shoot this fast, hold this many bullets, unless it's to commit acts of murder.

    December 16, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Boehner's

    This should be interesting. The all-powerful gun lobby against a bunch of spineless wimps. Wonder who will emerge victorious?

    December 16, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. Steven Plank

    I simply cannot believe what I am reading in the comments here! More guns! armed officers in our schools! are you for real? Very misguided comments.
    A child's right to attend school without the fear of getting shot out weighs every civilians right to own or carry a gun – any day of the week. More guns = more deaths, not less! The beginning of a legacy to the 20 beautiful children and their 6 brave teachers shot down on Friday is a complete and outright ban on all assault, automatic and semi-automatic weapons in civilian hands – these weapons have no place at all in today's society. If the mother of the lunatic in New Town was not allowed to own an assault rifle then he would not have had access to it to use in the school in the first place. Limit these weapons NOW Mr President and Congress – I hope you are listening.

    December 16, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  6. Andrew from Newtown

    Connecticut has a state AWB that did not sunset like the Federal AWB. Clearly it has made little difference in the wrong people getting a firearm. Cosmetics don't make a firearm lethal. Firearms in the hands of irresponsible people do.

    Also, Senator Feinstein, they are not "clips" but magazines. At least educate yourself on firearms before you go banishing them from the hands of the people who may one day stop action like this from occurring. Lives are saved by gun owners everyday, but the media doesn't like a story that ends well.

    December 16, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Paul

    So will she also introduce a bill to fund mental health?

    December 16, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. Jack

    Let's also look at mental health care institution too! It is probably more important than ban on assault weapons.

    December 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. trex

    ....OH NO................How can we stop the British at Bunker Hill if we cant have our UZI'S................

    December 16, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    @draper3916, I am sure those children carrying their own guns would have helped that monster.
    Get a grip. Guns kill because people kill.
    Most guns "bought for your own protection" end up either killing you or in the hands of criminals.

    December 16, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. exlonghorn

    Ahh, the usual gun debate revs up again...leet's all keep in mind a few facts:
    1) There are 270 million guns in the U.S.
    2) Most gun crimes are not committed with assault rifles, and this includes mass shootings.
    3) Guns have both positive outcomes and negative outcomes. Everything from self-defense, to murder, to suicide. It is VERY difficult to make a case for one over the other, because defensive gun use is not accurately tracked.
    4) It's very hard to compare countries gun laws with their gun crime rates.
    6) NO holder of a concealed carry permit who was not also a law enforcement officer has ever stopped a mass shooting a
    7) School shootings HAVE been stopped by a nearby person with a gun (Appalachian State and Pearl High School)
    8) Texas statistics indicate that holders of concealed carry licenses commit violent crimes 1/7th as often as the rest of the state population.
    9) Roughly 2% of the U.S. eligible population has a license/permit to carry a gun. This may explain why so few mass shotings have been stopped by a private citizen lawfully carrying a gun.
    10) Several states, including Arizona and Vermont, allow open carry of handguns.
    11) Mass shootings have occurred in shopping malls, schools, restaurants, health clubs, churches, courthouses, post offices, almost any place that people congregate. Many of them were in areas banning firearms. Others were not.
    12) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the 1994-2004 "assault weapon" ban and other gun control attempts, and found "insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence." A 2004 critical review of research on firearms by a National Research Council panel also noted that academic studies of the assault weapon ban "did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence" and noted "due to the fact that the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban ... the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small

    December 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Rick

    Well I guess people have to use some common sense. I know let's ban fast automobiles, you know no one really needs a fast car and look at all the dui fatalities that might be stopped. Or hey, let's ban those large tablespoons people eat more when they use them, let's just force them use small spoons, it's the right thing to do. You know the real problem in this country is many people don't want to acknowledge the fact that you can't legislate character or morals you either have them or you don't, the same people calling for magazine limitations and this so called assault weapons ban are the same people who feel it's wrong have God mentioned in the class room or that we all will be accountable to him for our actions.

    December 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. montani42

    First of all, guns are not the cause of the horrible killings in Sandy Hook or anywhere else. Insanity is the cause and the politically correct, the ACLU, and the liberals all pushed to get the insane released into community based treatment. There are laws that require the reporting of child abuse, but no law to require the reporting of seriously insane people, many called "troubled" people by the press. The shooter at Virginia Tech had been identified as an insane person, but the judge refused to lock him up. Lock up insane people and there will be far less mass killings.

    Second, criminals and the insane do not obey gun laws, only good law abiding citizens do. Therefore all gun laws do is disarm good people or reduce their protection.

    Third, insane people who want to kill others will not be stopped by the lack of guns. A can of gasoline and a match will work just as well. A man in China with a knife killed two and slashed 22 small school children the other day. Another Chinese man killed 8 with a knife. Neither could get access to a gun.

    Here are some facts from Australia after they enacted a gun ban:

    From the National Center For Policy Analysis in 2009:

    It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer. In 2002 - five years after enacting its gun ban - the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner. Even Australia's Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

    In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
    Sexual assault - Australia's equivalent term for rape - increased 29.9 percent. Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.

    December 16, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. Gilbert Sia

    How many more innocent lives will be lost due to gun violence? Let's get a meaningful and comprehensive approach to this menace in our society.Let's stop lying to ourselves especially to our children.You can't be safe in public places anymore knowing that someone might snap and start shooting.Let's learn from other societies who have effective gun control and lower gun violence deaths.Enough is enough!

    December 16, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Nick

    I see the ACLU was also silent about tighter controls on insane people, the same people they forced the state to release and prevent them from getting proper treatment are the ones using a variety of weapons including cars, knives and yes guns to kill innocent law abiding citizens. Blood on your hands ACLU and government.

    December 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. Crazy_Redneck

    RRJ – Just because you're ok with it, doesn't mean others are. 6 shots may suit you and you say your rights aren't infringed upon. However, high capacity magazines do have practical defense purposes. Just ask the Korean-American business owners who defended their shops during the LA riots. What's right for you may not be right for others. Choice is a fantastic thing, isn't it?

    December 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. Nick Gonzalez

    A perfect gun control bill might not be possible, but we at least have to try. We must do something to at least start to curb Military type weapons.
    We have no choice but to try to curb the senseless murders of innocent people.
    How many more people must die before we can pass a meaningful bill?

    December 16, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. Roses

    So sad. Guns for hunting are not these type of weapons. They should be totally outlawed for the common man. No need for them. Shame on anyone wanting them.

    December 16, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  19. adampeart

    Really Ms. Feinstien (and all of you hypocrite do-gooder commenters)? You have absolutely no problem with the president drone bombing brown children on the other side of the planet on a daily basis. You have no problem with this president and congress starving brown children to death through sanctions because they were born in a state named Iran. Please stop pretending that you care about innocent children.

    December 16, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. Tony in Maine

    The ban should be retroactive and include any magazine more than five rounds – more than enough for a hunter.

    Sadly – all that will come of the obscenity in Newtown is a national directory of mental health care providers who are accepting new patients. LaPierre will permit no more than that.

    December 16, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. NonServiam

    People cite the UK as a shining example of gun control, yet the UK's homicide rate was just as low before the ban on handguns, and although private legal handgun ownership has gone down, violent crime has gone up and handgun ownership among criminals age 25 and younger is as high as ever before.

    December 16, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  22. Second Amendment

    After they take our guns, they will take our freedom. We are the only country in the whole planet that NEVER HAD A DICTATORSHIP, in any time of our history, because GOVERNMENT was afraid of American Citizens bearing arms and organized in militias. The right our forefathers, through the Second Amendment, granted us, as they knew that any government, no matter how beneficial it is, can become a tyranny, if its citizens don't have weapons to defend themselves against it. Now they are taking this last right from us, by using their own trained sleeper agents to do the dirty jobs, and blame guns, so they can get an excuse. We seeing you there NSA...

    December 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  23. rationalreview

    So is that the jitterbug or the Charleston Feinstein is doing on top of the Newtown kids' graves?

    December 16, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. zman

    columbine shows us that just because an AWB is in effect does not mean we are safe from school/mass shootings

    December 16, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. Name

    This woman is delusional if she thinks placing a ban on these weapons is going to stop people from acquiring them. All she is going to do is prevent law abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves from threats, foreign and domestic.

    December 16, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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