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. SouthernGirl

    Gun control will work as good as cocain, meth, and drug control, it cannot be done. Train and arm the teachers and principals with guns. The shooter knew the school was a "gun free school" so there is his sitting ducklings. All schools should have armed personnel or police officers. My children's schools from kindergarten through high school had armed police officers. If the schools cannot afford officers, arm the teachers.

    December 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. rad666

    Fail. Too many jobs at risk.

    December 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Frederick1337

    Good luck. Prominent names will be losing a lot of credit if this bill passes. *cough* communists *cough*.

    December 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Branden

    I read on and on through all these comments and still people are blaming guns as the culprit for mass shootings and murders. You all also say you cannot compare cars to guns when it comes to murders. Well here is a thought for you the person behind the gun intended to kill people and did so, the person that planted the car bomb intended to turn the car into a weapon and kill larg groups at once and did so, the person that put a pipe bomb into a mail box turned it into a trap to kill people. Notice how the common is the person, stop trying to ban the tool and ban the person you may just go a little further.

    December 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. BHirsh

    Yo. Senator.

    DOA in the House.

    Seau soddy.

    Besides, if you jerks decide that our semiautomatic weapons must be confiscated, do you actually think we will let you DO it?

    December 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. chap

    @ Bystander
    If you truly believe that a .223 is just a "varmint" rifle, has obviously never seen what said round does to a human "varmint". Do you think the military would have adopted it if it wasn't deadly effective? There's a reason why the VC called the M16 Black death and if you think otherwise you truly are a fool.

    December 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. BHirsh

    Stevenbeto –

    What if the SCOTUS has already held that keeping and bearing arms is a protected individual right?

    Oops! They already DID....

    December 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. David Moolten

    It's simple. Fewer guns=fewer killings, period. In other countries where guns are illegal and difficult to procure, the murder rate is much lower, orders of magnitude lower. If you want to trade anecdotes, even in China, hardly a bastion of progressiveness, the absence of guns led to a similar killer's failure to kill anyone when he ran amok in a school. But individual incidents, while provocative, aren't really what should be compelling. We have tens of thousands more deaths here annually, hundreds, thousand of times as many violent homicides, thanks to guns. Will stricter gun laws prevent every violent homicide? No, of course not. But seat belts and air bags don't prevent every traffic fatality either. It's a matter of numbers. Remove guns and the overall numbers go down, way down, and we are as a society much, much safer. Those are the data. Those are the statistics. Period.

    December 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Crowded

    I have been a responsible gun owner since my teens. I have seen every likely scenario in which one would need a gun in one's home. Including but not limited to, hunting, butchering of livestock, mercy killing of grievously injured or ill animals, preventing home invasion, one on one self protection, and yes, even pure recreation. In nearly 4 decades of gun ownership have I ever seen the need under any circumstance for armor piercing bullets, large magazines, rapid repeat fire or any of that. If the situation calls for something more extreme than a shotgun or .38 revolver to handle, then it is too much for you to handle anyway. Absolutely I am in favor of banning these guns. Banning all guns, no. Farm life would be very difficult without one. Bow and arrow won't do it when your neighbor's cow has a broken pelvis or there is a rabid fox drooling on your back porch. Most of the people I hear ranting against the proposal to ban assault weapons don't even have one. If the worry is the gov't is going to attack the citizenry (really?) then let's face it folks, having an ak47 in your house isn't going to really help you any.

    December 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. TonyB

    Guns not the problem insane evil people are the problem. The government starts taking away our guns because 0.0009 % of the population is evil and the devil on earth thats just wrong. These gun free zones are honey spots for evil doers with guns need more security and concealed handguns in these soft target areas.

    December 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. ST

    Every citizen is not a law maker. There are those who have been elected to make laws and one of them is Ms. Feistein. No citizen is allowed to choose the law they like or don't like, after all they hate all the laws. Whatever law makers will come with, must be respected and abide to like any other laws. It is for the interest of every individual.

    December 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. ChristoInferno

    Why is it that Americans only start talking seriously about education and mental health care when someone hints at taking away their guns?

    I can't believe I'm raising my daughter in a country that values its weapons more than its children.

    December 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Californians are proud of Diane Feinstein's fight for responsible gun control.

    December 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. lardoggy

    Guns are not the problem,its parenting that's the problem!

    December 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Mike

    The NRA is this country's most powerful union.

    December 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Paul

    The story is about a ban on assault weapons, yet most comments on here are talking about banning guns in general. Does anyone read the story before commenting?

    December 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Ed1


    You are right one child or person is to many.

    More children are killed by drunk drivers every year than guns. Fix one law before you cry wolf to many times.

    I see drunk drivers that are pulled seven times and guess what they are on the road in no time.

    It's Tragic what happened but guns laws are not the problem people are.

    Try and put the sob in jail and throw away the key.

    It doesn't help when the press and Obama telling people that this will not happen again on his watch that's just a challenge to these sick and mean people out there.

    December 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Seneca,Roman scholar 4BC-65AD wrote;Swords are but a tool,it is the killer,using a sword as a tool that commits the murder.

    December 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Jean, Des Moines, Iowa.

    Gun nuts: i.e. Republicans: How many of you go to church (Christians) every Sunday, pray and sing praises to God – pretend you believe in the prince of peace, the golden rule, love one another and go home and hug your guns believing that is what your god wants! – have a house full of weapons to "protect yourself" – assault rifles to kill those imaginary armies coming after you!! Babies were slaughtered in their happy, safe environment of school by availability a demented subhuman had to weapons of mass destruction provided by his "loving mother." And all you can do to justify this, is relate this to cars, alochol, tobacco use, etc.!!!! Listen to yourselves!!! Those beautiful babies and caring teachers were slaughtered by those assault rifles you love so much and you want there to be more and more of them out there!! Go get on your knees and tell your Jesus this!

    December 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Erik

    In my line of work software development) we have something called the 1% rule. What that rule means is we don't build functionality (new software) for special cases that comprise less than 1% of data changes or system activities, because its a losing proposition. I'd apply the same rule here. We don't need to draft legislation that is GUARANTEED not to prevent crime (laws don't prevent crime) based on exceptional cases where guns are misused. We shouldn't punish 99.999% of gun owners because of the behavior of .001% of people that didn't obtain the guns legally to begin with. Despite the fact that an atrocity has occurred, punishing the innocent will not right the wrong, and won't prevent criminality in the future.

    December 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. pat

    It would be interesting to know how many people who own guns and have lost a loved one from gun violence still support second amendment to own a gun.

    December 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. TonyB

    People want mental health exams to get guns who is gonna pay for that you idiots. Should have mental health exams for driving vehicles they kill more people than guns.

    December 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |

    Seneca,Roman scolar,4 BC- 65 AD wrote;Swords are but a tool.It is the killer who murders using this as a tool rather than another means to murder his victims.

    December 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. eleanorcat

    1) If guns were outlawed only outlaws would have guns.
    Yes, true. But far fewer of them. Also, unstable, poorly socialized school shooter types probably wouldn't be the ones getting them. My sense is that they aren't savvy enough or connected enough in general to accomplish this.

    2) If people didn't have guns, they would just use some other tool to kill others.
    Yes. But much less effectively. Killing 26 people with a knife is extremely difficult. Homemade bombs would do the trick, but these unhinged bozos have proven very ineffectual at making bombs.

    3) But Mexico bans guns and look at all the violence they have.
    This is a poor comparison because Mexico is not a modern industrialized nation the way the US is. Compare the US with other nations in its economic league and you will see a very different story.

    4) The constitutional framers wanted us to have guns.
    Yes. Ever notice that the words well-regulated appear in the text of that?

    December 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. David

    Although it is a nice idea, it will never pass. However, we can pass legislation that helps to minimize the likelihoods of events like this happening, and that can't be contested by the right-side of the aisle. For the cost of 3.2 F-22 Raptors, we can have a walk-through metal detector in every public school in the nation (all 98,817...yes I checked). Furthermore, if all guns had to carry an insurance policy, just as you do with cars, then anytime your weapon is used in a malicious manner, there is financial support for the mental health treatment of the survivors. I have no issue with people owning guns. I have issues with those people not being responsible enough to accept the possible outcome of owning that weapon. You will read 100 posts about how trying to prevent things like this from happening won't work. Argue for your limitations and so they shall be yours. But I am not of that framework. I believe that this didn't have to happen.

    December 17, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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