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. nomad2003

    An assault weapons ban will NOT help,, sorry to offend some. Some folks try to use a crisis to forward their cause.

    What needs to addressed is the why! We do not even know the WHY yet, and those who just want to band assault weapons and larger clips. Then the only ones with large clips will be the criminals.

    The mental health laws need to be changed. Work on the why not the instrument.

    If someone wants to kill, they will. there many house chemcials that can be mixed to make a bomb.

    Why have assault weapons? Same reason as there are street cars that can go 200 mph.

    December 17, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Steve in CT

    The gun advocates keep citing the 2nd Amendment as their protection to own guns. However, when that document was written, there was no standing army and all gun owners were part of the militia. The militia is now known as the National Guard. Every gun owner should be required to join the NG. In addition when the 2nd amendment was written, there were only muzzle loaded guns.

    December 17, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Tim

    The term "assault weapon" was coined to separate some weapons from others. No weapon whether it's a BB gun or a high power rifle assaults anything without a person pointing and pulling the trigger. Even if I only have a clip of 10 that doesn't mean that some crazy person won't get 10 clips of 10 and kill 100 people because nobody had means to stop him. Let me take some comments and replace the word gun. There is no reason anybody needs Heroin and we should make it illegal today to save the lives of children. You see, the people that want the product will get it elsewhere regardless of it's legality. Criminals don't obey laws. Mexico dosen't even allow the citizens to have guns and they have fully automatic weapons being fired in the streets. We don't have fully automatic weapons by the way and I think that if you are serious about gun control you need to educate yourself on the facts of what guns do what and which are available to the public. Look at statistics on violent crimes that involve guns and see if they have risen since the ban on assault weapons expired. Wouldn't that be an indicator of whether or not an assault weapons ban would work again? I'm talking real stats not CNN or the news media. Go to the FBI's stats on crime as reported by police departments across the US. I think what you'll find doesn't support a rush to disarmament.

    December 17, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Krisagi

    @SavetheChildren ok say we take away the guns, and next month a guy goes into a middle school and hacks up children with a Katana and a Daikatana, are you going to then going to demand a law making Swords illegal? America has the most gun laws in the world and the highest violent crimes committed by guns. Making another gun law wont cause this fact to go away.

    December 17, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Enraged_Disgusted

    Gun owners say they have done nothing to deserve having their right to bear arms trampled... DISGUSTING! Of course they're to blame. Each and every gun owner is entirely to blame for each and every child who died on Friday. That vile NRA still prefers twenty dead 6-year-olds to the possibility that one gun-hugger looses his right to bear arms.

    December 17, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Danny Hunt

    A First Step, Suicide Factors to prevent suicides, Rage Shooting Factors to prevent rage shootings

    "I watched the interfaith prayer vigil tonight for the victims of Newtown CT and saw President Barack Obama speak of the first steps to prevent these terrible crimes. The first step in suicide prevention is knowing the suicide factors, for rage shootings it is the same, using rage shooting factors to prevent rage shootings." see the Rage Shooting Factors page.

    December 17, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Inde Di

    NO guns are allowed in Canada, other than law enforcement officers, however the hoodlums find a way to get them but they are pursued by the authorities who are vigorous in getting even those few gins off the street.

    December 17, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. KeepinItReal

    Why have any exemptions in the ban? Just band assault rifles and handguns. No exemptions.

    December 17, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Malory Archer


    elderly drivers kill more innocent people than criminals do with assault weapons; maybe we should ban automobiles.


    Just like the NRA is there to speak for gun owners, the AARP is there to speak for elderly drivers. HOWEVER, unlike the gun issue, there are procedures in place to take the driver licenses of elderly folks whose cognizance skills are in decline. Here in Florida they're subject to more frequent driver exams, and relatives/healthcare providers can & do notify the DMV if they see a problem. My father in law had to have his dad's driver license taken away. Perhaps if the gun lobby wasn't standing in the way, owners of multiple high-powered weapons and expanded ammo clips, and members of their households could be subject to psycological evaluations on a regular basis, thereby preventing these all too common tragedies happening.

    December 17, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. MIke Smith

    Crazy’s take over a plane and we give the pilots guns but when a crazy person shoots up a school we talk about taking guns away from law abiding citizens. Let’s train and arm the teachers. How different would this have been if the principle had a gun or one of the teachers?

    December 17, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Michael

    The NRA, et al, says that limiting any firearm is the first step in limiting all firearms. The NRA, et al, repeatedly states that it's not the gun that kills. The NRA, et al, states that we need to be able to have semi-automatic rifles with extended clips so that we can go out to the woods, hide in a deer blind, luring meat on the hoof within our sites with food then be able to fire round after round, from a magazine that can hold up to 100 rounds. REALLY?? I want every one of you people that refuse to accept accountability and responsibility for sane firearm control to go to Newton and tell those greiving parents why that kid could kill his own mother then 20 kids and 6 adults. And remember, the people that are carping the loudest about the 2nd Amendment (which was written in hte days of non-rifled muzzle loaders) are the same that want to cut funding for mental health. You want your cake and eat it too. Personally, I see absolutely no reason to have assault rifles or extended magazines ... and maybe it's time to make the punishment fit the crime: you commit a crime with a firearm, YOU DIE ... and your assets are liquidated with 50% going to the state and the other 50% to the victim's families. End Of Rant ...

    December 17, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. kelvin

    ban assault rifles because the shooter used handguns

    December 17, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Malory Archer

    Why have assault weapons? Same reason as there are street cars that can go 200 mph.


    REALLY??? Guns have one purpose, and one purpose only: to kill. Are you implying that fast cars are designed for that one and only purpose as well? REALLY???

    December 17, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. ru serious

    Oh, this is so sad. Once again, the rest of us are going to be held hostage to the "rights" of a gun-toting minority. The only thing we might hope for is that the horror in CT might give some of the gun whacko parents pause. If you have some mal-adjusted kid/freak in your home, better make sure you lock the guns up tight. Sounds horrible, but I hope the mother of that freak was awake when he shot her, just so she might have had just one second of the terror those poor little ones must have felt.

    December 17, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. KSR

    There is no reason for a gun owner to have a high capacity fire arm (for arguments sake we can use a 10-round cap). Very seldom do gang members or drug dealers, who tend to purchase military grade firearms illegally rush a school or theatre and open fire on innocent victims, they tend to use their firearms on each other or law enforcement, with innocents simply caught in the crossfire. Rarely, as well, do these guns find their way into our homes where, in order to defend ourselves and our families, we have to have a similar firearm available. Limiting normal citizens to firearms with only 10 rounds or less would only increase the amount of finger fatigue we have to live with reloading our clips at the shooting range, as no self respecting hunter should need more than one to two rounds to take down their prey, and, while I don't have statistics to prove it, most home defense shootings probably don't involve hollywood style shootouts. I'm a proud gun owner but my 8-round 1911 and 5-round bolt action long gun will serve my needs and limiting my ability to purchase a rifle with a 30-round magazine standard (upgradable to a 50-100 round drum aftermarket) does not infringe upon my ablity to enjoy a trip to the range, provide meat to my family, or protect my home against an intruder.

    December 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. MrCrabs

    It's time to stop blaming inanimate objects and honest, law-abiding firearm owners. We need to enact uniform legal methods for reporting and intervening when persons display potentially dangerous behavior. We have laws in place the require teachers, nurses, doctors, and social workers to report suspected abuse with children. We need the same kind of laws for suspected cases of mental instability where there is potential for aggressive behavior. Intervene early in a child's life or an adult's life when they show sign of aggression.

    December 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Figures, another knee-jerk reaction by the drama queen!

    December 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. John

    Historically legislators have not been great at correctly identifying assault weapons. Are they smarter today, or is this going to be motion for motion's sake with no meaningful or useful change?

    December 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Branden

    Idk why people are constantly talking about invoking more laws, criminals do not pay attention to laws, they simply do not care. You can ban any gun you please but when it comes down to it they are going to do what they are set out to do no matter what laws you have in place. look at the incident in china with the knife banning weapons simply changes the crime scene. Personally I'd rather be shot then stabbed or drowned. This guy could've easily chosen any number of weapons, I.E. hand grenades, malotov cocktails, bombs and the same result wouldve happened or worse and an even worse scene for the men and wemon of law enforcement to walk into. I do however think it is way too easy to aquire such guns. One should not walk out of a store the same day he/she purchases such weapon do a more thurough background check. Also why haven't we learned from our past here in America we've been through how many school shootings and still yet we do not have armed protection at our schools, maybe not teachers, but how about officers or trained armed guards and not just one per school how about 3 or 4 or even when it comes to a college 2 per building. I think we are all looking at this the wrong way its not the guns fault these poor people died, its the person operating the gun much like a drunk driver operating a car that is at fault.

    December 17, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. just sayin

    ok, i will agree to give up my constituionally protected right to keep and bear arms if the liberals and democrats all agree to turn in their guns first as an act of good will and example . and they agree that all violent criminals that use guns or other weapons be executed within 2 years of committing their violent crime. no exemptions foe the mentally ill.

    no arguments. this will result in greater safety for everybody. put up or shut up. if you truly care about safety, this a real path to it.

    December 17, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. thx1111

    Crazy.... So, we ban guns, and call it a day? You know, if there is a will, there is a way. Some nutcase will figure out how to get a weapon regardless of this law, it will do zero good, execept to score some political points...

    December 17, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. doom

    I love all the comments about how Americans should be disarmed and the reasons why we don't need guns. The 2nd Ammendment was put into place not to protect ourselves from each other but to protect ourselves from the government itself.

    December 17, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. nomad2003

    more doctors kill people by accident each year than people with guns.

    I have weapons. I takes 15 to 30 minutes to find my place. Had to shoot a cayota the other day, it was attacking my dog.

    rapid fire for even a semi automatic weapon in compietion is 10 rounds in 10 seconds

    I would consider a better testing for a gun permit. And if you are found with a gun one must show the permit.

    December 17, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Unbiased Opinions

    I have two comments that I feel relevant. Firstly, for the people that threaten to move to Canada if stricter gun laws take effect, this just proves your ignorance. In Canada, our gun laws are MUCH stricter. Therefore, logic would conclude you would be even unhappier in Canada....so please, that threat makes absolutely no sense.
    Secondly, for the people that present that are arguing "maybe we should get rid of cars because cars kill more people than guns", once again this displays your logic. The argument is not that all guns should be banned, it is that specific types of guns should be banned. There have been more and more restrictions on cars: seat belts, airbags, speed you can travel in it, , where you can drive a car----you can apply the same approach to guns. However, I should mention I am embarrassed even to make this comparison, because it is absolutely ridiculous to try and equate the two (guns and cars).

    December 17, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    nomad2003 wrote:

    An assault weapons ban will NOT help,, sorry to offend some. Some folks try to use a crisis to forward their cause.
    Curious coincidence seeing how we had far fewer violent incidents and deaths by assault weapons when the Brady Bill was in effect, isn't it?

    Curious coincidence seeing how Chicago saw far fewer violent crimes committed with handguns until that city's handgun ban was overturned a couple of years ago, isn't it?

    Curious how the proliferation of assault weapons on the black market and at gun shows didn't occur until nation wide regulation of assault weapons expired. Everyone wanted one because they thought everyone else had one, until they realized that NOW everyone actually does have one so NOW they need more than one.....and so on, and so on. It's called an arms race, and this one is taking us on a path of self destruction.

    December 17, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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