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. seanster5977

    Before you go making laws thinking it will this issue, ask what laws on the books were broken by this crazy guy and his mother. Then you can see if laws should be changed. Were the weapons they both had all obtained legally? If so, then we can talk about new laws.

    December 17, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    When are liberals going to get it through their heads, if you remove guns, you only help criminals. Criminals do not follow your laws anyway. All you will do is create more victims. Oh, wait, that is what liberals and community organizers do.

    December 17, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. imma annoid

    Feinstein is a California wackjob.

    Whey doesn't she introduce a bill that actually deals with the real issue?
    Like how this country deals with Mental Health? Facilities have been closed down and there was no helping the killer even though his mother had a ton of money?

    December 17, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. krabz

    This is not a gun issue. This is an abrogation of family responsibilities issue. Try teaching your kids, have dinner with them, help them with their homework, take them to church. You might even have fun along the way.

    December 17, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Two things.

    1. Proponents of unrestricted gun ownership argue that a gun is needed to defend oneself. They argue that this, that, or the other would not have occured had the victim owned a gun. D 6 and 7 year old kids really have be packing heat in order to be protected from gun violence?

    2. Mike Huckabee. His remark on Friday about this tragedy never would have occurred had we had prayer in our schools is as cold and callous as it is stupid and misguided. He has since tried to clean it up, but it's too late for that. The remarks are wrong on too many levels to list here, but one thing I will cite. Huckabee used the tragedy to push his agenda forward on prayer, Christian prayer mind you, in our public schools.

    December 17, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    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.
    Let me guess: you have Smith & Wesson stock? Than you must be happy every time a mass shooting takes place, because you're making money. The gun control debate has never been about people being safer, its all about the gun manufacturers making money off of the paranoia of weak people who are easily swayed by an argument that claims to uphold the Second Amendment. The Constitution and the Bible are the last refuge for the weak-minded conservative, who will never grasp that both are open to interpretation in a free society, and that they are inevitably wrong because their view always relies on their selfishness and narrow-mindedness for validity. This has nothing to do with hunting or self-defense: it is about defending corporations and large lobbies that have a vested interest in keeping violance going. Blood for gold, that's what its all about. They don't care if 20 kids or 2000 die: they will kill every attempt to stop them from making money and avoid being responsible, all the while blabbering on about the need to have an armed group of citizens to fend off the "threat" of the government, a threat that would never be there if they did not insist on handing out guns and ammo to everyone regardless of mental capacity.

    December 17, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Oregon mall shooter, killed two people, was going to kill more, was confronted by person with concealed carry, shooter killed self instead of claiming more victims. How many more would have been killed if that person with concealed carry had not been there?

    December 17, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  8. Rudy NYC


    This is just Feinstein opportunistically exploiting tragedy for political gain again. The shooter didn't even use a so-called assault weapon, and the last two who did both had them jam, saving lives, not increasing the death toll.

    What they and we all should be demanding to know is why, this long after Columbine, Virginia Tech, and 911, it is still possible for someone, armed or not, to gain access to such a sensitive place as an elementary school without having legitimate business there.
    This is the type of stuff that you believe when you deny reality, and ignore facts and the truth. The gunman used an assault rifle, and he gained entry by using that same weapon to shoot out the re-inforced glass doorway.

    December 17, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    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.
    Do you own their stock? You must be thrilled, than. You made money off of murder.

    December 17, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. Frankster

    I went to the gun store on Saturday looking for a holster. I have never seen so many people in that gun store in my life. Families, professional looking people of all kinds were in there looking to buy guns. Many were looking at semi-automatic rifles, perhaps in anticipation of a ban effort. It is clear that most do not want bans and are more concenred than ever with preserving their right to own guns to protect themselves and their loved ones.

    What are new gun laws going to accomplish? Mass murder is already illegal. Connecticut already has an Assault Weapons law. The school was already a Gun Free Zone. The shooter was age 20, which is below the legal age to purchase a handgun. As is usually the case, all these laws did nothing to prevent someone who was intent on violence from committing it.

    Only a real physical prohibition, like a locked school with a secure entrance lobby and a guard behind security glass that screens visitors before opening a locked door to allow them access to the school, might have prevented this tragedy.

    New laws banning sale or transfer of specific guns aren't going to prevent those with criminal intent from ignoring the law and buying them illegally. Just look at how well prohibition worked for alcohol and drugs.

    December 17, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  11. Tbard

    Maybe we should focus on a mental health system that gets crazy people off the street rather than only having mental institutions for them AFTER they kill people.

    December 17, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. Juliemac

    Wow. The sheeple are remarkable here. What they are calling an assault rifle is just a plain old rifle with a hand grip. Nothing more. I am a 55 year old female who target shoots and because of a bad wrist, use a rifle with a hand grip.
    Before you go running around like chicken little (The sky is falling!"), stop and think, read a bit, find the truth before you go making a fool of your selves in a public forum.

    December 17, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  13. Charles

    You are nuts if you think banning anything is going to stop people from having Assault weapons. Fist of all there are milions in circulation in the US right now – WHat are you going to do go house to house and conduct a search? Also drugs are banned right now and you never see them causing any issues – I feel so secure knowing that my kids will never be at risk of using druigs since they are illegal. But "Banning them will make them hard to get" NOt true just go into any inner city hop in a cab and ask them to take you somewhere to buy a gun. I have had cabbies ask me if I wanted on several time in the grand ol city of Phiily. Also with spare magazines and ammo this nut could have done the same thing with the hand guns – THey each hold 15 rounds of ammo and if he had two that is the same number of rounds that the AR-15 Bushwacker holds 30.
    The problem here is the gun free are in the schools – If there was one thing this guy was – it was a coward. He picked a place where he knew there would be no resistance and he was right – it would have made no difference what weapon he used – Assault rifle, hand gun , or some for of home made explosives – If you think that baning Assault weapons are going to change anything you are nuts.
    Now if you want to enact a law that any household that has a person which is mentally unstable to have guns on the premises – I am fine with that. The problems there is how to enforce such a thing ??

    December 17, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  14. Charles

    The political way – Never fail to exploit a tragedy.

    December 17, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  15. Kevin

    Nobody disagrees that the recent shooting was a tragedy, but I think we need to look at proposed legislation carefully. Would this have helped? I don't think it would.
    I think this is a knee-jerk reaction by Senator Feinstein.

    December 17, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  16. Just a Guy

    It is time for this nation to grow up and leave behind its infantile fascination with weaponry. Open carry laws won't make us safer. That is sheer luancy. You are no safer with a gun at your side or in your house. The problem that I see is that those who own guns to protect themselves don't do it becasue they are afraid someone is going to break into their house, they own guns becasue they hope someone breaks into their house. They want to shoot someone. A small percentage of paranoid Americans that are addicted to their guns and they currently control the debate. Its time for the grown ups in the room to take control of the debate. Here is the myth: Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Here is the truth: People with guns kill people.

    December 17, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. bob

    The Second Amendment: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Are all NRA members and other gun owners in the U. S. members of a "well regulated militia" as stipulated in the Second Amendment (written before the country had a standing professional army to defend it)? I didn't think so.

    December 17, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  18. Jeff

    She is what is wrong with our countr

    December 17, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  19. Solitaire

    Good. I look forward to supporting a weapons ban of this sort. Time the gun fetishists gave a little ground on their killing tools.

    December 17, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  20. IndFL

    This is not the right approach given that all the criminals have all the wepons and citizens do not. I used to be for gun control but now the only way we can protect ourselves is to take arms as well. Gun control doesn't work PERIOD! Now the only way is to arm ourselves as well.

    December 17, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  21. sifto

    no politics involved? Right.......

    December 17, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  22. Matt

    note two things ~ The media is not reporting on the fact that when a CCW holder in the Oregon mall drew on the shooter his next shot was to shoot himself. In connecticut ~ as soon as the first responders got there ~ same thing, he shot himself. These are not warriors trained to fight under return fire – these are cowards who want to inflict some last second pain on the world before their exit. Confronting these shooters ends the violence. Police need to stop layering on body armor and stacking up outside and instead run in on these shooters ~ it ends as soon as they are confronted.

    December 17, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  23. Clarke

    It is a start, But how will it be enforced? I agree we don't need assault weapons.

    December 17, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  24. Anonymous

    "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Cor 13: 11

    It's time for Americans to put their childish talk aside and begin a real conversation. Does the death of 20 innocent children mean nothing in America that so very many need to still cling to their childish words and their childish toys?

    Now is the time for a bit of "tough love" for all you gun toting NRA trolls more content on causing distraction and mayhem than on discussing viable and reasonable alternatives.

    You want to keep your "killing machines" then have the decency to explain why I or any other parent should listen with respect to your opinions when so many have already died (just recently 20 six and seven years old) in "honor" of your rights and all you can come up with is purchasing more guns and arming teachers, yourselves, and every other nut case in America so YOU can "enjoy" your "hobby".

    This isn't a Liberal vs Conservative problem. Those little children were never given a chance to become one or the other. This is an AMERICAN problem.

    December 17, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. mdupoise

    Citizens do not need assault weapons, period. The real problem is that gun owners fail to lock up thier weapons. Trigger guards should be mandatory and clips and ammunition hidden in another location from the guns. Any gun owner whose weapons are used in a shooting should be investigated to try and determine if those weapons were properly locked or not and if its determined they were not then the gun owner should be held as complicit in the shooting, his right to own guns removed forever and jailed. I dont care one iota that someone owns a gun bt if you do then you ARE the one responsible to secure and manage that weapon, period. It may not have changed anything in this case or some others as there is no one solution but it certainly would help in many more. And for those of you who loudly claim that guns dont kill people, try throwing a bullet at someone and see how that works!

    December 17, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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