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. Name

    Train and arm the teachers and administrators.

    December 16, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. Lynn42

    All the focus goes to the gun. The gun didn't kill anyone, the "person" pulling the trigger did. The fundamental issue is the "person" that is mentally disturbed. Somehow this issue always gets forgotten. What needs to happen here is dealing with the mental illness that pushes a "person" to such extremes. Always, we hear about the red flags of a person's personality after the fact. The real issue is the person and accountability by that person and the people who know that person. But I suppose it is just too hard for our society to take blame for bad parenting, bad education, tolerance or denial of bullying, over-prescribing of toxic pills (but it's ok because the Dr said to take it is the wrong approach) and whatever else leads someone down this path. Wake up America, this issue is not about gun control. It's about the human condition in the United States. And compared to the rest of the world, we are in a sorry, sorry condition. Get off the 'gun-control' wagon and stand for accountability.

    December 16, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. kaf

    In my school we had a fully armed police officer this needs to happen everywhere no sign with the words gun free zone is going to stop anyone and this is sad that a politician uses this tragedy to try and force a new weapon ban.

    December 16, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  4. Michael

    I am fully supportive of responsible gun ownership.........but I am sick and tired of cowards hiding behind the Second Amendment in order to justify exremist positions that give gun ownership a bad name. It's time we did something.

    December 16, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  5. hot air warrior

    Idea... Lets tax the gun buyers BIG TIME and use the money to hire the security guards that the gun supporter are talking about on here.

    December 16, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  6. Jesse

    Guns don't kill! It's only a tool. It's the hard heart that kills I think there stirring up some bad ideas trying to do this causing more trouble in the end than it is making a difference. Whats stupid is someone can be just as deadly with a bolt gun at 3/4th of a mile . I don't think they will benefit one thing from it but more violence!

    December 16, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. JustAGuy

    Here we go, a surge in gun sales, thanks to Dianne Feinstein.

    December 16, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  8. alissa63wind

    Yes this was a tragedy, however this is not a failure of any existing law. They seemed to have functioned fine. It is that no matter what you legislate people will be able to do these kinds of things.

    Look at China same thing happened but with a knife.

    Armed crime and homicides, FBI says most are committed with baseball bats.

    Come on and stop with the knee jerk reactions and look deeper into the problem.

    December 16, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. alissa63wind

    I see this as once again knee jerk reaction politics.
    Yes it was and is a complete tragedy. However now to once again go after law abiding people is bad.

    The laws did not fail, they worked yet this person and others like him will always find a way to accomplish what they want.

    According to the FBI Most violent crimes are committed with........a BASEBALL BAT!

    December 16, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  10. swissarmybill

    (Not sure why my first attempt didn't display.) My junior year proudly self-avowed liberal social studies teacher indicated the Second Amendment was created to prevent tyrants from ever holding power over this nation –whether tyrants from without, or tyrants from within, should the legislators themselves become tyrannical. The citizenry must be able to fend off armies under the control of a tyrant, whatever the tyrant, whatever the age. I'm not sure there's ever been a tyrant, or a common criminal, who wanted a potential victim to give armed resistance. Blanket disarmament, whether by increments or as a whole, looks the same: tyrannical.

    December 16, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. James Flowers

    "Assault Rifles" are already heavily regulated under NFA 36. In fact the last crime I can think of that was perpetrated with one was the North Hollywood Bank Robbery in 1997. The murderer at Sandy Hook used a civilian sporting rifle, that just like every other normal firearm, fires one round each time you shoot it. Hoplophiles like Feinstein and the media have force fed the "Assault Rifle" term down American throats until most people don't understand the difference. The 1994 Ban was basically an "ugly gun" ban which did nothing to effect crime. If the US Government really wanted to 'make changes' then funding mental illness support, and a number of other steps would give us a far better return on our investment.

    December 17, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. TexMan

    How politically stylish. But a different procedure is required to subvert or amend the US constitution.

    December 17, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  13. peteca1

    do what you want. this bill will have ZERO effect on school safety if it passes. Our schools will be just as much at risk as they were – before the proposed legislation. parents should not be misled by this.

    December 17, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  14. peteca1

    This bill will have no effect on the risk of shooting incidents at American schools. Parents who really want to protect their kids (incl me) will need to participate in putting together a real workable safety plan for their neighborhood school.

    December 17, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. phillybear

    You Americans have to realize that the men who wrote your constitution were not gods or anything holy. Many of them were slave owners. Get your heads out of the sand and start using some common sense. Your gun lobby has ignored human decency under the second amendment for far to long, you really should try joining the 21 century. Get with it America, you people are better than this.

    December 17, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  16. Name

    Why do bills in the us have time limits. I think this is unique to us politics and I don't understand the rationale for it. Either the bill is a good idea or it is not.

    December 17, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  17. USCitzen

    Taking away the right to bare arms or make it so regulated it's impossible to get one only makes us less safe and the aggressor more capable. Just imagine for a moment outside of your liberal sick way of thinking that the principle or several teachers were trained in the use of and carried a firearm????? Bet the body count would have been considerably less.
    On a more dark point what happens if the Government decides they don't need the constitution anymore and implements Marshal law? The very reason we have the right to bare arms is to protect us from our own government.

    December 17, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. pat

    I have yet to figure out why we need guns in the modern times. I have been here for 30 yrs and i do not know 1 person who lives on hunting deer or animals...and I have yet to find one reason to have a gun.

    we need to focus on removing the source of the problem. – Guns.

    we need license to drive a car and insurance to keep it safe..Do drunk drivers get to drive...NO.
    Why do we not register Guns..it blows my mind.
    If someone buys a gun to hunt, and if he does not hunt..his license should automatically expire..
    I would register every animal they hunt.

    Also, gun owners would have to renew license every year..just like a car..so we know the guns are still with them.

    Why do we allow mentally unstable folks..folks with criminal background..and folks who are threat to threat to the society be allowed to have access to Guns. No guns should be allowed..PERIOD. I am proud of the senator who is bringing the legislation to limit the semi automatic..it is a start..but not the end.

    I wish Guns are registered, gun owners are given responsibility for it, guns registration rennewed every year...and banned to own by criminals..atleast.

    December 17, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  19. Patrick

    So predictable....a loon kills innocent children & adults with legal registered weapons & the liberal response is always the same – BAN GUNS. Get a clue – had the school not been a gun free zone, teachers & administrators with firearms training could have possibly taken this murderer out & possibly could have mitigated some of the carnage. This problem goes further than the issue of guns – it stems once again back to the 60's when we started loading our children up unnecessarily with Ritalin & the like; when we decided to close insane asylums & throw mentally deranged folks onto the street; & when we decided that it was not constitutional to force loons into insane asylums against their will. What happened in Newtown is the end result of liberal policies at work....when will the country wake up from this delusional nightmare?

    December 17, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  20. Meh

    I'm okay with this. Why does anyone even need a assault rifle?

    December 17, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. bill in anza

    Right. Don't stigmatize the boy with Asperger's Syndrome who murdered 27 innocents, one his own mother, but paint with a broad brush the millions of law abiding gun owners. That's the liberal mind at work.

    December 17, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  22. USCitzen

    Take away guns from movies? And outlaw violent Video games? And censer everything media to ensure there is no violence? Hope that also includes any reference to religion, heck better make selling the bible illegal as it is one of the most violent books I have ever read. Its not the video games and or the movies its about controlling your kids and providing a good environment for them to grow in. Don't like Die Hard 3? Don't watch it, Don't like Black Ops? Don't play it. Whatever you do its your choice but don't put your weakness on the rest of us. Like I said earlier imagine if there were trained, armed employees in that school... I promise there would have been less death. Its time to forget your weak liberal ideas and start facing the fact we live in a violent world.

    December 17, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  23. samC

    there is a world outside of the United States that functions and behaves in a more civilized manner. There are lessons from other countries that can portray an image of what it might look like if there were appropriate gun controls.

    Immediate access to guns, growing up with guns, lack of background checking is where the problem lies.

    gun restriction and regulation may not prevent the gangsters and the bad guys from getting them, but it will sure minimize the ability of the mentally disturbed to easily grab them from their mothers' cupboards and kitchen drawers and start shooting innocent children.

    the second amendment is being abused and used as an excuse for creating an irreversible violent society. America's obsession with guns has to end very quickly.

    learn from your neighbours and other countries around the world. Germany, once a very violent country had less than 200 gun related murders last year. so did Canada. we just as free as you are, but probably a lot safer..

    December 17, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. ST

    Not any easy task to confiscate all weapons, BUT keep a very tough measure on a limit of ammunitions a person can buy/keep just for their protection. The fewer ammo are around, the fewer death will be. Excess ammo a person has must be returned to the authorities. Anyone who will be caught with a number of ammo more than required, should go to jail straight away regardless the position they are holding.

    December 17, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  25. Deb in MT

    "Feinstien just single-handedly sends assault rifle sales through the roof."

    Actually, I think our election/re-election of President Obama already did that. Don't kid yourself: much of the past few years of gun hoarding has been triggered by barely submerged rascism.

    If people are so terrified that they need a houseful of guns, could we somehow limit the ammunition available to them, or limit & regulate magazine size? I'd like to explore all the possibilities–including tackling our abyssmal record at funding mental health treatment–no holds barred.

    It's way past time for a serious debate, because it is looking more and more like those who do not own guns are having their rights threatened by those who do own them. What good are all those stockpiles of weapons supposedly being held for 'protection' and 'preserving American freedom against tyranny' if others fear a simple act like going to a movie, the mall, or school? Is their freedom from fear of being shot of less importance than your freedom to own firearms? There's an old saying: your right to throw a punch ends at my nose. We need to balance this conflict of rights.

    And for those advocating arming the principal & teachers: this slaughter took minutes. Do you honestly believe that a principal or teacher would have been able to get to the gun safe, enter the code, and run back to 'defend' the school in just a few minutes while the shooter fired away? This is different from an imaginary battle in your computer game. Ask law enforcement and the military–shooting at another human being isn't easy for your average person.

    December 17, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
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