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. Trayvon Martin

    There is no reason any citizen needs an Assault rifle. How many have defended themselves with them vs these mass murders? I support the 2nd ammendment but handguns and single shot rifles are enough.

    December 16, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  2. Thomas of Tennessee

    Guns are not allowed in schools or on school properties, in malls, or in theaters...and that just happens to be where all these shootings take place. Wake up America! We need more people to have handgun carry permits and we need the. government to allow us to carry them anywhere anytime. We need to focus on the signs of these types of crazy individuals and invest in metal doors and security for the schools. Think about suicide bombers in Iraq and the guy in China that slashed 22 school kids with a knife. Gun control is not the answer Mrs. Feinstien.

    December 16, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  3. Larry L

    So much of gun ownership has shifted from sporting guns to "tactical" weapons. Go to any gun forum on-line and you'll see dialogue about "tactical" rifles, pistols and shotguns. Even knives and flashlights are sold as "tactical" objects. With less than 1% of citizens having served in our military why did the "tactical" nature of sporting goods become important? Could the election of an African American POTUS have influenced the transition? Could all of the birthers, conspiracy theorists, and overweight militia members have fueled the craze? I'd recommend these folks stop by the local US Armed Forces Recruiting Office and sign up for a tour of duty. We'll give you a "tactical" weapon, teach you to use it, make you shave that goatee, and cause you to lose that fat gut you all seem to have hanging over your "tactical" belt.

    December 16, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. QuietStormX

    Come on people, those guns were bought by his Mother and were in their home. It's the white people who are caucing these seans. People with mental issues should not be able to buy wepons or ammo for them. Pllus those guns were legal... I think the ban won't go anywhere because of these incidents. It's the mindless people who have access and not noticed or watched to keep from doing things like this.

    December 16, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. Ratherbboating

    I was going to say that guns don't kill people, people kill people But most people know that, except politicians who are clueless about this issue and most others. Most of the time there are warning signs/ behavior before something like this happens. Why not do something before it becomes a tragedy.

    December 16, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Alger Dave

    The 'assault weapon' the shooter used is a gun that most of us can buy at the local sporting goods store. In fact, it looks like the M16 weapon the military used to use, but it's no more an assault weapon than your hunting rifle is. It's a semi-automatic rifle that just happens to look like a military gun. It shoots one shot every time you pull the trigger – again like many of the hunting rifles and shotguns folks have at home. If this gun is an assault rifle, then millions of American hunters have assault rifles (and many of them used them over the past month deer hunting). Automatic weapons are already banned, and rightly so. This gun was NOT an automatic weapon. If you ban semi-automatic weapons, or weapons that just happen to look like military weapons (of our day, because most hunting rifles 'look' like military weapons of the past – and police carry shotguns in their cars, so I guess those are military too), then you'd be hard pressed to find a hunter who had a legal weapon.
    Here's a better idea. Let's do something about the mentally ill having access to weapons. Most mass shooters are mentally ill, as likely was Mr. Lanza. And, secondly, lets enforce and make more stringent sentencing guidelines for criminals who use guns in their crimes. We're not doing these things very well, and better attempts in these 2 areas will thwart a great deal of future gun violence. Banning a few guns will thwart little if any.

    December 16, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. They deserve a place of honor with all that is good. – George Washington.

    We mourn the 20 dead in CT, but ignore the 2,000 dead from abortions committed every day. We live in a culture of death. Limiting the size of the clip in a gun is a joke.

    December 16, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  8. CBR

    Sen.Feinstein has been in the Senate long enough to have brought forth bills before. She had the opportunity to bring a gun control bill forward. Unless the committee can come up with a bi-partisan bill we will watch as another bill is not passed. Not all legislation begins with the President and if he did not do something that Sen. Feinstein wanted the Senate and House to approve she should have done so.

    Last Friday's tragedy needs to remind us that we need to find ways to help those who are mentally challenged. We need to enact legislation which respects the 2nd amendment but which deals with guns and ammo that are not necessary to have. We do not need more guns but we do need laws that keep certain guns out of the hands of those who are mentally challenged. WE have enough experts to be able to define those who should not have guns.

    We need to decide if we need all of these violent games which are children are playing. Should children be 'killing' people on video games?

    December 16, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. eramthgin

    Want to get the guns out of the ghettos? I have an idea minimum 50 years prison using a firearm in the commission of a felony. Oh but that would be too mean to the poor ghetto residents. Can't put the thugs and killers in prison for good. Get the SICK MENTALLY ILL WACHO's off of the street. That is the only solution to the problem.

    December 16, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. dan

    Can you guys read? She said assault weapon ban... and not even retroactively... who needs a weapon that can fire 200 rounds a minute or a 60 round magazine?

    December 16, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. Taylor

    Yes because butchering the second amendment is the way to go ofcourse! What happened there was a tragedy, but taking certain things away from all of us because of the actions of a few individuals, that sounds familiar, reminds me of 1st grade actually, our government thinks of all of us as such. Are we really?

    December 16, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. Name

    This time we will not allow this communist puke to spill over this great nation... Stand up!

    December 16, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. Mountain

    It was illegal to get alcohol when I was in school but dope was actually easier to get – illegally.

    I am all for making firearms illegal – but only if:

    Manufacture, collection, growth or sale of alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, or the abuse of prescription medication (doctor or user) be strictly illegal

    All motor vehicles without exception be equipped with a molestation-proof breath analyzer and drug detector with biometric DNA ID

    All motor vehicles must be equipped with speed and collision prevention computers connected by satellite to overview travel

    All law enforcement must be equipped with non-stop continuous tamper-proof 360 camera surveillance with audio that is recorded and broadcast to publicly open channels for public review.

    All SSRI drugs come with "house arrest" radio bracelets and 24 hour surveillance

    All medical staff that cause any death by "medical misadventure" be charged with a crime or have licenses revoked or both

    Lets see how all that flies, you want it, you can have it – but it has to be all or nothing!...

    December 16, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  14. Brandy

    ok, this is great and all, but certainly not a solution to the threat of violence we are facing. People will still commit horrific acts of violence if so compelled, lets focus on that instead of using this incident and other recent incidences to push gun legislation, although compromise is needed and laws do need some reform.

    December 16, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Rick

    I have a thought for all of you who think the second amendment only applies to muskets to ponder. Actually think about that statement because if that is true then the first amendment does not apply to the Internet, tv, or the radio since the founders couldn't foresee that technology, you can not have freedom of speech on any of those, only in actual speech in public, and in print may you speak freely. And you have no right to privacy in your car either since they did not exist.

    The second amendment was put there for a reason, after the revolution the people of this nation privately owned cannons, that would be like me owning a howitzer. The second amendment was put there to keep us from having a tyrannical Government again.

    Wile the Government plans to dis arm us, so criminals can have a safe work place, they will sleep soundly because men with automatic weapons will be keeping them safe.

    December 16, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. Leopold Stotch

    Knee jerk reaction. My mother was killed by a drunk driver. I want to see alcohol and cars banned too. Otherwise, this is not fair.

    December 16, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. Drew

    Banning guns will not solve the issue!! Lets say you take the guns out. Then you will hear about some kid stabbing 5 students and so on until we have nothing because even a simple screwdriver can be turned into a weapon. Yes, some weapons are more effective than others but dont take away the good law abiding citizen the chance to defend themselves. And dont compare us to Europe either. We are two different cultures and Europe isn't perfect either, pretty sure some dude in Norway killed 60 plus kids. The problem lies with these kids not the guns!!

    December 16, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. NameJuan Miguel

    I don't understand , guns will always be available legally or illegally , if theses guys don't get their hands on guns they'll just blow themselfs up , its not the guns its our culture of violence , tv , video games , etc. The politicians need to work the real issues not compound them by passing bans that won't work

    December 16, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. Nobody

    In no way do I think gun laws are perfect, but mass random murders like this are almost always carried out by people with relatively clean criminal records and extensive psychiatric records. The state of mental healthcare needs major reform.

    December 16, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  20. Drew

    Want people dont understand is that all these laws requiring firearms already exist. You dont get weapons from vending machines. The problem is not law abiding citizens who follow all the regulations required to get a firearm, its the ones who are illegally carrying pistols, stealing them, defacing, etc. Those are the ones who commit crimes and if we ban firearms I assure you they wont be in the front of the line handing them in.

    December 16, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. Michael

    As such an advocate of gun control as the Senator is, I'm sure she is well aware that only 2% of current inmates in jail for firearm related crimes had or used an assault rifle. Justice Department 2001 report.

    December 16, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  22. mike

    Why is it that as soon as something tragic like this happens these slime ball politicians use it to feed their own agenda and interest? How about a little compassion for the lost and sympathy for the families BEFORE you use this event as a tool you self indulgent, ignorant, fools! By putting more restrictions on guns all you will succeed in doing is making more of us targets! These people that do these awful things....you never read about them going into a police station, or a federal building, or any place else where there would be a possibility of some one fighting back. You also never hear about some one that is a law abiding citizen, licensed to carry, going bat-crap crazy and doing something like this. In fact in places where people are allowed and do carry the crime rates are lower. I don't think that is a coincidence. I carry, even if it is just down to the corner store for a paper, and i can guarantee you that if i was put into a position to stop some one else from getting hurt by stepping in i would.....and I would be willing to wager 99% of the people who are stand-up citizens would do the same. So go ahead and put a ban on guns...but remember this; if you are getting attacked, it will take the police an average of 3 minutes to respond, and with no one else to step in, that will be your only hope. Good luck.
    p.s. i strongly recommend any other gun enthusiasts to get'em now before it's too late. I just bought 2 more today.

    December 16, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. merlinfire

    Ban whatever you want. We simply won't comply.

    December 16, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. Gary

    Well what a shock the DEMS using this tragedy to push an anti gun law. First off look at some of the states that have the toghest gun laws, Washington, chicago, Califonia.. HM why that looks like the list of the most violent crimes being commited as well. How about low violent crime, texas, florida, minnesota.. Hmm all conceal and carry states. No if you want to go down Wacko from Cali.. look at the top killers of our kids, Alchol, drugs, texting driving, car accidents.. so some are illegal so take away all ther cars, NO what needs to happen is get serious about looking at Mental Health. I mean real mental health.. not the every emotion is a dissability, and we give them a pill and presto we did our job.. No teach these people coping skills and life skills not excuses .. oh you have adhd, bi polar, asburger you don't have to be held accountable. No give them teaching skills and if sitill not working lets find a safe enviroment for them and us..

    December 16, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. Pam williams

    Thank you. Please let me know how we citizens can support you in this effort!

    December 16, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
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