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

    Lets talk about rights. The right to own guns is everyone's right, not just those who choose to exercise it. The constitution is in place precisely for these situations where a mob mentality of the scared masses attempt to steal the rights of others. Remember: you will never legislate morality.

    December 17, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  2. Timothy Volas

    Is it not apparent, to everyone, America, your children are not safe; that it is you, America, who has done this, and continues to do this, to them? Are your guns really worth it? Shame on all who believe this is a price worth paying for your 18th Century 2nd Amendment Rights.

    December 17, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  3. jadefalcon

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, I trust that ban on assault weapons includes all of the Military branches and law enforcement and the FBI and CIA as well.

    December 17, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  4. Gerry Ellenson

    This is purely political posturing on the part of Feinstein. Banning assault weapons will have ZERO effect on such tragic incidents, and will do nothing about the hundreds of MILLIONS of weapons already in the hands of Americans. Those millions are a fact that won't go away and the only thing that would have saved lives would have been select, armed teachers. I admit that's a very sad state of affairs, but reality is often sad.

    December 17, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  5. Simon Riece

    Does anyone remember Dunblane? Firearms, especially pistols were illegal in the UK. Crime went UP UP UP! Let the teachers carry weapons! This is a confiscation scheme cooked up by the current administration. I would not be supprised to find out that they were behind it and supported it. Look at Eric Holder. This is a smoke screen! Isn't it convenient that Clinton got a bang to the head before she had to testify?

    December 17, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  6. Michael

    We need to ban the sale of all assault weapons as there is no need to own them. Most can be converted to fully automatic weapons. The fact that there could be over a million of these weapons in circulation, we need to ban the sale of any ammunition used in them. There is no logical reason to own these weapons. The criminal element has these weapons that have been modified to be fully automatic and are a danger to our police. Many are surplus military weapons imported from other countries.

    December 17, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  7. the AnViL

    here it is again – more willful ignorance – pointing in the completely wrong direction.

    blaming weapons is the childish response. it's unrealistic and simply impractical. this is more of the same foolish stupidity we've grown accustomed to. point fingers at the weapons....

    ... instead of recognizing the actual culprit: mental illness.

    more delusional thinking that will not ever solve this problem.

    those who believe banning assault rifles is the magical answer are beyond reason.

    and the enemies of reason are the true force of darkness on planet earth.

    December 17, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  8. Thompson45

    Just what will this ban accomplish? Nothing, the crazies and criminals will still have weapons, the law abiding gun owner will have less. It will make the politicians look good to their voters back home. Is there something about Right, Keep, Bear, Shall Not be infringed these pols do not understand?

    December 17, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  9. W.

    This approach to gun control and social morality is a delicate dance. America is a violent culture entrenched with ideologies that are reflected in marketing and media, crime and war. I am not sure what the answer is, whether to control gun purchasing, mental health monitoring, or a cultural paradigm against violent coexistence. We need to consider all the parameters of these issues and realize where we are. I do look inward at my own values and consider that I am a component of a society that promotes force protection, as I own a revolver. I also am a partially paralyzed person who lives alone: I can't run away. I also considered a long time ago that there are some places and times when too many children makes gun ownership prohibitive in my own limited view of a sphere of neighborhood life. It seems that all the comments made on these issues are didactic from a singular perspective. We are entering a new era where the population is so great and society is so complex that the unbalanced and nonlinear mentality of some individuals will be expressed violently and with theatre. I do not begin to know the answer, I just hope we can drop the partisanships and stark paranoia to know that there is some reason to simple self defense and not for a neighborhood militia. I have lived in both mindsets and hope that I will find a more simplistic and balanced way to secure my home and my life without the violent taking of another life. All life is precious and it is a razor's edge to decide when to make the supreme decision of removing a life permanently by force. Knowledge and wisdom are difficult to embrace in a moment of reason.

    December 17, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  10. Jim

    Obama and Feinstein are the best thing that could happen for gun dealers. Just try finding .556 ammo and look at the prices on the stuff! Trying to disarm law abiding citizens is a very bad idea.

    December 17, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  11. triker44

    Guns DO NOT kill people! People kill people!

    Perhaps Feinstein should include a ban on knives, sharpinstruments and blunt force implements like hammers as well in her new gun grabber bill.

    Get real folks! Gun bans will not work! In the end the bad guys will always have the weapons with which to kill others especially if those others are themselves unarmed!

    December 17, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  12. Whome

    Join the NRA people.

    December 17, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  13. LizardLance

    Why do some of you insist on comparing cars to guns? They are not comparable. One is used for transporation, the other is used for killing. Yes, the misuse of a car can result in death. However, the correct use of a gun can result in death. I'm starting to think that gun activists are crazies and that the NRA zealots don't care in the least that 20 children were killed Friday.

    December 17, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  14. Steve

    Does any remember when laws were passed to make heroin and cocaine illegal?........Point being the government thinks as soon as they make guns illegal that no one would have them anymore. Dumb.

    December 17, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  15. Scott

    This is nothing but emotional political grandstanding. It will do NOTHIING to curb violence, just as the previous ban did NOTHING to curb violence. Most gun crimes are committed with handguns. While this tragedy was mostly committed with a semi-automatic rifle, the damage could just as easily been done with handguns or a shotguns, or pipe bombs, or turning the gas on or any number of ways. This murderer was obviously intelligent enough to come up with something. I cannot help but think that if the principal and a few teachers were trained and armed, this may not have gone down the way it did. We need to do more to address moral decay and mental health issues. Life is precious and we have too many people who think it's just a joke.

    December 17, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  16. ChicagoBob

    So what is it? We prefer the senseless, preventable death of our children to be spread out over multiple places and multiple causes? Let's not forget that this madman killed HIS OWN MOTHER FIRST in order to obtain those weapons. Think about that for a minute. This was planned, pre-meditated and carried out just as he expected. Although I would not be surprised to find that someone intervened in his demise, but that narrative doesn't fit the current political climate, so if that's the case, we'll never hear about it. So let's say madam Feinstein gets her bill passed. There are roughly 270 million guns "on the street" right this minute. Does she think that these "assault weapons" which isn't a real term anyway, will just evaporate? These guns will remain and so will the people who use them, for good, for neutral purposes and for evil. This is a simple-minded, knee jerk reaction to a deeper societal problem; we don't have that respect for anything, especially one another. Our kids have become desensitized to violence, we as a society value things over people, and have become nothing more than numbers on a page to everyone from drink companies to CNN. Personal responsibility is gone, replaced by blaming others for things we do to ourselves. From a logical perspective, guns have always been a part of our country. They've always been here, what's changed is our culture. Perhaps its' best to look at ourselves first.

    December 17, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  17. freddo

    this must be feinstien's "time and place" she was talking about years ago. too bad her polical agenda involved 20 young children being murdered before she could muster the courage to introduce her bill. if the ban is such a good idea, why are we just now introducing it? it doesn't matter what kind of legislation you pass, it wouldn't have stopped this incident from happening.

    December 17, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  18. Sagebrush Shorty

    Thank you Dianne. Smith & Wesson stock will be going up again. You and the other liberals are the best salesmen the gun manufacturers have ever had.

    December 17, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  19. fiftyfive55

    I thought they said it would be in extremely poor taste to politicize this,so what is happening here now ? Turn off these politicians for awhile and let the families greive,for crying out loud show some respect.

    December 17, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. richunix

    We don't need to hunt, our meat is prepared (and safer), most of the gun owners are NOT in the military, so why the automatic firearms?

    December 17, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  21. surfsock1

    People that believe an armed society is a safe society is delusional and should not be allowed a weapon. People with guns kill people. The US has the highest incidence in the free world. Get rid of your guns and maybe we'll visit your country one day.

    December 17, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Bravo, Madame Senator. It's a disgrace that a tragedy has to occur to shock people out of their wits for something to be done about the proliferation of assault and attack weapons in this country. IMHO, the "right to bear arms" means exactly what the founding fathers wrote: you have the right to own a musket....not a weapon of mass murder.

    The gun laws in the country are truly misguided. I must a have a driver's license to buy, own and operate a car in any state, yet that is not the case when it comes to guns. It is a crime if I allow an unlicensed driver to operate my car.

    Yet, the opposite is true for guns. I can buy a gun, and then allow any without a gun license to operate it, or have access to it. If an unlicensed individual in my home gains access to my gun and uses it to commit a crime, I would not be held responsible for keeping unauthorized, unlicensed inidividuals away from my guns.

    December 17, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  23. Marcus

    Maybe we should ban Senators who which to change the Constitution??

    December 17, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  24. Tam

    Publish, and keep publishing the names and amounts of $$ politicians are receiving from the NRA and similar groups. But then, they probably have no shame. As that one man said (loose quote) - think about it, do you love your guns or your children more?

    December 17, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  25. Wilson

    @Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I believe that the most important issue facing congress and our nation today as far as gun violence in America is concerned is what steps are we going to take to avoid such tragedies from happening in the future apart from just trying to regulate the sales of deadly assault weapons in our communities? For example, if another gunman decides to enter another school in the near future to repeat such a heinous carnage, HOW do we go about preventing such a tragedy from happening today? I believe that the best measure that state and local governments can and SHOULD implement NOW is to immediately establish and deploy a permanent swat team of two or more police officers to every elementary, middle and high school, college and university and shopping mall in America. It is evident by now that these assailants do not confront citizens unless these citizens are defenseless unarmed and helpless or vulnerable persons who cannot strike back. The last time I checked, we spent 5.2 trillion dollars fighting two foreign wars that are of no benefit to us whatsoever. I believe that it is essential for us as a nation to begin to implement resources where needed to defend and protect America's most important asset, our cherished citizens. I say a swat team at every school and shopping mall in America should be mandatory without further delay.
    Not a bad idea, but who is going to pay for it? Rather, who will approve the money? No one will approve such an expenditure.

    December 17, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
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