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. SpencerRifle

    This is pure political posturing at its finest. Submit a bill that has no chance of advancing to get your name & face in the media.

    December 17, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Anonymous

    I like the part where she says 'keep the guns opff the streets'. Once you get the illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, then talk to me abt taking my guns

    December 17, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Time for all of you to listen to the father of a 5th Grader in Connecticut.
    This was a senseless tragedy inflicted on a community by an individual. He killed 26 people at the school with guns that were LEGALLY OWNED by his mother, who he killed before going to the school. It should also come as a surprise to no one that the battle lines are already being drawn.
    Now here are the questions that we should be asking, along with some answers.
    1. Would he have killed if he didn't have access to guns? Probably. He may have used a knife as the guy in China did on Friday. He may have built a bomb. He may have done a number of things.
    2. Should the guns his mother owned be banned? Yes and no. The assault rifle? Probably. A weapon like that has no place outside of the military or law enforcement. As for "personal protection", it is too big (size wise) to be effectively used in a home. If she needed a sporting piece, there are plenty of rifles that are more practical. If she wanted a long gun for personal protection, a pump-action shotgun would be more effective. As for the pistols she owned – no problem with the basic weapons. I only have a problem with high capacity magazines – again, something that should be restricted to law enforcement and military.
    3. Should teachers be armed? Again, as a parent of a 5th grader in CT, I am of mixed emotions. I don't believe there should be a blanket arming of teachers. If there is a teacher who is trained on the use of a handgun, and has a means of securing it when not needed, that teacher should be allowed to bring it in, with the permission of the Principal, Superintendent, and School Board. My big proviso is "SECURING" the weapon to prevent it from being picked up and used by a student. Kids are curious. Kids are also desensitized to the potential impact a firearm can have thanks to violent video games and movies. They are unaware of the true destructive capabilities of a firearm in trained or untrained hands.
    4. How about police or other armed security guards? While we want our children to feel safe, this may not be the way to go. There are too many incidents of 8 and 9 year old kids being arrested for "disruptive behavior" thanks to ZERO Tolerance policies. The presence of police would probably lead to more incidents like that.
    5. How about more secure entrances? Definitely. On Friday, when I went to pick my daughter up, I noticed someone struggling with some boxes trying to leave. I politely held the door open (because that's how my parents raised me), but was never challenged as to who I was or what I was doing there. Also, today, when I dropped her off this morning at her before school program, the doors were unlocked. I commented about this to the lead teacher at the program, and he was surprised about that too. These are issues that the Principals, Superintendents and Schools Boards in our town and every other city need to resolve. The time for discussion about security is done. Now is the time they need to take action.
    Yep. This was a lot longer than most of my posts, but I wanted the rest of you to know how we, in Connecticut, feel about things.

    December 17, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. LBIRDIE123

    I am all for the Assault Weapon ban. I am also for the immediate "DEATH PENALTY" for anyone caught while using this type of weapon in any type of criminal activity. US citizens should be allowed to keep and bear arms. BUT – Assault weapons are not for self defense, these are used to kill as many people as possible. NO LEGAL weapon should have a clip that holds more than 8 bullets. It is not necessary for 'normal' citizens to need more than that. Remember this – When this was put into the Constitution, there were only flint type ONE shot guns. It is time for a constitutional amendment to BAN ALL ASSAULT weapons.

    December 17, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. NickAnast

    In the last six months, beginning with the Aurora shootings, there have been at least FOUR mass murders in which a lone gunman using high-powered weapons in a public place killed people at random. There was also one workplace shooting. So maybe it's time to reinstate the assault weapons ban.

    40% of all LEGAL gun purchases do not require backgound checks because they are made either at gun shows or over the Internet. So that loophole needs to be closed.

    If you want to stop straw purchases, then limit purchases to one per month per person. And require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours or else face criminal charges (as an accomplice) and civil liability penalties if the gun is used in a crime.

    It's common sense. And none of this infringes on the rights of hunters or law-abiding citizens.

    December 17, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Chedar

    Overturn the 2nd amendment and declare the NRA as an illegal organization.

    December 17, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  7. Just a thought

    You gun lovin twits...get over yourselves. There are parents with broken hearts. If allowing every one access to guns were the answer, think about the fact that the shooter stole his mom's guns and promptly shot her.

    You call people "scary libruls, blah blah blah...." Don't you idiots understand that owning a gun doesn't make you brave or tough? A gun should be for your home protection. If that's the case you don't need an M4 or Bush Master .223 or an M16, grenade launcher and tons of ammo. Its doubtful anyone will come into your home that will require such resistance.

    December 17, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Sam

    The cold hard fact of the matter is this...Anyone bent on mass murder, who is able to get close enough to a bunch of helpless people, will be successful REGARDLESS of the weapon used. By example, lets say he shows up at school with a machete, goes into a classroom, herds the kids into a corner and starts hacking away...is the endstate not the same? What if he uses a handgun, with the 10 round limit, and multiple magazines...the results are the same.

    So how do you prevent this? Short answer...you can't...you can reduce or mitigate the risk, but not eliminate it. Maybe it's time to turn classrooms into saferooms but even this won't solve the problem...the vulnerability exists in the auditorium, gymnasium, playground, cafeteria...The societal focus needs to change. 3-4 decades ago we didn't have this problem because morality and decency existed. The modern culture of glorified violence, me first, and I'm a victim so society has to pay are the problems along with absent/indifferent parents.

    December 17, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Rick wrote:

    It's not hard to answer that, Jeff. If I could go back in time, then yes, I would have shot that insect. We should not have to ask ourselves questions like this. The school staff should have been armed and ready to deal with individuals like Mr. Lanza, but they were not.
    Wrong, Rick. The children should have been armed, too, so that they could defend themselves after the teachers went down.

    December 17, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. snowdogg

    I can hear Charlton Heston turning over in his grave right now.

    December 17, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  11. marco

    People kill people, no matter what tool is used, they will find a way to get that tool, and use it. Do you blame the car or motorcycle a drunk driver used to kill someone in an accident? Do you often find a quick blame on guns when someone is killed by them? Of course, because it is much easier to blame the weapon, than the person. The sport rifle, Bushmaster .223 cal is NOT an assault rifle. Assault rifles are not legal for sale in the U.S. to private citizens. They are reserved to military, and police officers ONLY. It is just designed to look that way, because people of all sorts will pick it over the other type of rifles. An assault rifle have various fittings to make it an “assault” rifle. Selective rate of fire from “semi-auto, three round burst, to fully automatic fire” THAT is what makes an assault rifle. I do not own any guns, but I would rather be around someone with a concealed handgun, than someone who don't have any weapons. They will use their weapon for self defense, and to put the maniac down ASAP. No matter how many gun laws you try to put up, it will never stop the violence from one person shooting in a place that is banned for guns, than any other, because the people there don't have any guns on them. Easy targets. I do believe that if the teachers, not all, but some, had guns, with proper training, would have stopped that person from killing those children. Because of this event, the talk of the day is about gun laws AGAIN. Don't remove my right to own a gun, to protect my family or neighbors, if I should decide to buy one. I STRONGLY suggest that everyone should get screened before purchasing a weapon. I intend to own a rifle and a few pistols, someday.

    December 17, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. jorge washinsen

    There will never be an end to these arguments as long as humans are controlled by their mind and the media.We will never know why this person did this but you can bet his information he used came from the media in one way or another.

    December 17, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  13. iculus

    Its a fallacy that guns are needed for protection. You are far more likely to be killed by your own gun (accidental or otherwise) than by a criminal.

    December 17, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Wes Scott

    There is one very simple way to stop this type of violence in schools against children, teachers and administrators – put locks on every access point so that nobody from the outside can enter except by a monitor on the inside who has to unlock the door, which would, of course, be easily opened from the inside by anybody needing to get outside in case of an emergency.

    Of course, knee jerk reactions against guns never stop to think of simple solutions that would actually work. They just fly off the handle with extreme measures that have zero chance of making a difference.

    December 17, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. HenryMiller

    One American in a hundred million goes crazy, and the Left sees that as a political opportunity to try to punish that hundred million and further their anti-gun agenda. Typical, and contemptible.

    December 17, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. steve

    Seems to me the root cause of the problem is mental illness and people with mental illness having access to guns.

    December 17, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. ccw holder

    CT still has the AWB passed in 1994. it never expired there.

    December 17, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. Nic

    Hey Marco –

    A car has other important purposes other then to kill (via drunk driver), and assult weapon has but one job. TO KILL. It should only be in the hands of the military or the police. Hate to break this to you, but target shooting isn't all that important/

    December 17, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. Peace

    All law makers have been put to task. You have to do whatever possible to make sure this game stops now if not completely. Anyone with the right thinking will sit down and try to ponder the following: When I heard from the President the story of a 6 years old kid, who put himself and told his fellow classmate that he knows karate and they should follow him , he is ready to fight the killer who is holding an assault weapon, made me shook my head non stop.
    That was the thinking of a brave 6 years kid of how to protect themselves. If this kid can think of such a thing and his IQ may be is less than 10%, how come grown ups and responsible elected people can not come up with something concrete of how to tackle this issue?

    December 17, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. Anonymous

    "The school staff should have been armed and ready to deal with individuals like Mr. Lanza, but they were not."

    Wrong. Mr. Lanza should never have been given the opportunity to access his mother's guns. Hopefully those who wish to protect themselves and their second admendment rights are now thinking on a higher level of securing those guns they have now in their own homes. If so, maybe another such tragedy might be avoided. No doubt Ms Lanza thought "her son" wouldn't do such a thing to her or anyone else.

    December 17, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. Wes Scott

    Timothy McVeigh did not use an "assault weapon." Should we also ban fertilizer and diesel fuel?

    December 17, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    marco wrote:

    "...The sport rifle, Bushmaster .223 cal is NOT an assault rifle. Assault rifles are not legal for sale in the U.S. to private citizens. They are reserved to military, and police officers ONLY. It is just designed to look that way, because people of all sorts will pick it over the other type of rifles. An assault rifle have various fittings to make it an “assault” rifle. Selective rate of fire from “semi-auto, three round burst, to fully automatic fire” THAT is what makes an assault rifle. ...."
    Psst, even the hard right leaning Drudge Report refers to the weapon as an assault rifle.

    "Police believe most of the shots came from a Bushmaster .223, a semi-automatic assault rifle. "

    Your definition of an assault rifle is shallow. Your description sounds like a machine gun. If a weapon can switch between single shot mode and multiple bursts, what would you call that?

    December 17, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  23. Wes Scott

    The Reverend Jim Jones did not use an "assault weapon." Should be also ban Kool-Aid?

    December 17, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. Greg

    So you stop the sale of "assault" rifles. There are hundreds of thousands of them already in homes. A psycho will just steal a gun to do what he has planned. It won't work. Why doesn't anyone understand that? If he plans to kill he will certainly steal.

    December 17, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. GunHater

    Guns are what all "little men" need to make up for their shortcomings... Ban them all, abolish the NRA... And those of you who wrote lines about this being a liberal thing, and I am not one BTW, why don't each of you ask the mothers and fathers of those 20 innocent children if they are liberals or conservatives on this topic – the numbers of idiots out there jumping to make this a political "shooting match" just blows my mind..

    December 17, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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