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. Allen

    @Richard – "Leave the serious weaponry in the hands of law enforcement and the military. Please."

    The reason we have the right to bear arms is to protect ourselves from law enforcement and the military if and when they become corrupt and unjust. You cannot defend yourself from a tyrannical government with four rounds.

    December 16, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. bkgrandma

    Somebody should tell "Actual American" that when our forefathers said that we should be able to bear arms, they were talking about GUNS THAT HAD TO BE RELOADED FOR EACH SHOT not guns that will fire 20 bullets in 10 seconds. He should also realize that if he had a young child that was killed at school, he might understand why intellegent people are upset. Banning automatic guns in not treason, IT'S COMMON SENSE!!!

    December 16, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. achepotle

    This is a good bill...I believe most Americans will support it.

    December 16, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. JD

    The gun manufactures are rejoicing at this news. I bet the lines of people wanting to buy those guns proposed in the ban are out the door. I really wish this debate could have waited at least until the victims have been buried. Plenty of time for debate afterwards. The level of horror is so unbelievable I doubt that it will forgotten. To those personally affected, my deepest sympathy.

    December 16, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Blue Dog

    Gin control now. Too many innocents have died of the hands of gun-wielding crazies.

    December 16, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I understand the concern of the matter especially after all of the horrific acts as of lately but do they really think that a ban will take these weapons off of the streets?!? I'm all for making this country a better and safer place but ban or not these weapons will still remain on the streets. You look at all the illegal drugs for instance that are quite accessible, my question is how would this situation be any different?

    December 16, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Ed1

    Does anyone know what an assault weapon is.

    If you are wanting to bar assault weapons they are automatic not semi-automatic that's fine but just because a weapon can fire more that one round without having to reload that would take every gun except single round guns and that is just about stupid.

    The assault weapon that should be banned would that could be fired full automatic only otherwise you don't know what you are talking about. Just because a gun looks like a assault weapon doesn't mean it is.

    The gun didn't kill the people the person on the other end did and doesn't seem to be a person with a stable mind.

    What happened was tragic but trying to ban any guns other that fully automatic and semi-automatic doesn't have a chance.

    People need to have at least a 14 day waiting period before they could buy any gun and limit the amount you can buy in a month or year. Better background checks with current information would help too.

    Don't go off the deep end it will only make things worse.

    Richard if you are looking for stories where people used semi-automatic weapons to defend themselves against another person using a semi-automatic weapon you don't have to look far in the past 25 years.

    Open you eyes people we live in a mean hateful world where you can get killed for just having a pair of shoes somebody else wants.

    I can tell you 90% of the thugs out there have semi-automatic guns. Taking a single shot gun with you is like throwing sand against the wind it will hit you in the face.

    December 16, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. breckdoesnotcompute

    What happened was terrible...but what awaits us if they try to ban guns is a far worse outcome....

    December 16, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. wjs

    It's time for people to grow up and give up their dangerous toys. Guns are attractive nuisances – sometimes imaginatively, even attractively designed, but always killing tools.

    December 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Nah

    richard: "However, the intent of the proposed legislation is to limit the number of high-capacity guns and semi-automatic weapons available on the streets of our country."

    Prohibitions have never prevented criminals from obtaining drugs, weapons, or any other instruments or banned items. What makes you think prohibiting the sale and possession of an "assault weapon" will stop criminals from keeping them?

    "People have always killed other people since the beginning of recorded history. Therefore, it makes no sense to allow easy access to weapons specifically designed to kill large numbers of people rapidly."

    The only easy access you would be preventing is access by law abiding citizens. For a perfect example of this, look at the war on drugs. Anyone can get meth, crack cocaine base, heroin, etc.

    "Consider: How many of those 27 innocent children and adults killed on Friday would be alive today if the killer only had access to one single-shot rifle?"

    You do realize banning semi-automatic firearms won't make semi-automatic firearms extinct, right?

    "Leave the serious weaponry in the hands of law enforcement and the military. Please."

    This again ignores the fact that if "serious weaponry" were banned, only the police, military and criminals would have them. Why? Because criminals ignore the laws already. That's why they're criminals. If they're willing to hurt, maim and kill others already, why wouldn't they be disposed to breaking gun laws as well?

    December 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Folks who want no restrictions on weapons need to stop treating the majority of the people as if they were incapable of understanding firearms. Some of your statements are simply false. The following are true statements about potential revisions to the law:

    * A .223 can be used for varmints – it (and the 5.56 cousin) is also the caliber of choice for many military weapons.
    * Limiting the magazine capacity does a significant impact on a shooter's capability to maintain a very high rate of fire.
    * A waiting period for gun purchases could keep guns out of the hands of people at moments of emotional instability.
    * Hunters never need more than five rounds of center-fire ammunition rifle or shotgun ammunition for hunting purposes.
    * Shooting competitions can (and do) adjust the weapon's capacity IAW the law and don't need high-capacity guns.
    * Home and personal defense scenarios never include prolonged fire-fights where hundreds of rounds are fired.
    * People in many states can exchange firearms w/o a record or background check – no report is filed anywhere.
    * Requiring a substantial license fee for firearms could fund the background check and provide a waiting period.
    * Offering very high values (or tax incentives) in buy-back programs could reduce weapons already distributed.
    * Some weapons bought back from the population could redistributed to military or law enforcement personnel.

    December 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Dark Space

    Richard, numerous studies have shown where armed civilians prevent 1 to 2 million crimes per year, and 100,000 to 200,000 of those cases the armed civilian felt like the prevented crime would have resulted in death had they not been armed. See Kleck and Gertz 1993 or Journal of Quantitative Criminology 2000.

    Regarding your question about how many would have been alive if he only had a single shot rifle. None of them would be my guess. He went there to kill, and its not hard to come up with ways to kill a bunch of innocent kids with no armed adults closer than six minutes away. He could've done it with the five shooter you describe, a couple of Molotov cocktails, or a homemade bomb like the largest ever school massacre on us soil.

    Although I have sympathy for the victims of this attack, our country has knowingly authorized the killing of five times as many children with drone attacks. These are deliberate and planned killings of innocents by us, and unlike school massacres, they are not as rare an event occurring 3 to 10 times per month for the last 5 years. Where is your outrage over this?

    December 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. sully

    I believe the former assault rifle ban, 1994- 2004 did have some school shootings on its watch. Columbine?

    December 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Stu

    Actual American: perhaps you should educate yourself a little on what was intended by our founders re gun possession. In that day it was deemed important for citizens to maintain arms to enable local militias where necessary for the community good. It came about due to the trickery and subterfuge of the British army and their suppression by force of original colonists. SCOTUS Justice Scalia has recently, and correctly, observed that even in the days around 1776-1787 there were laws outlawing private possession of weapons held and used for purposes of terror, and those laws remained on the books and were active even following the publishing of the Bill of Rights. There is no reason on earth for our society, in this day and age, to allow assault weapons and large ammunition clips and magazines to sold to citizens or possessed by citizens. I for one urge politicians to stand up for greater gun control on behalf of all Americans.

    December 16, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. bob verge

    Surely if the Americans can vote to legalize marijuana then they should be able to vote to ban guns!

    December 16, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. bill stapp

    And every drunk driver who kills an innocent pedestrian or passenger in another car should be prevented from ever buying or using a car.

    December 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. ted van tol

    You end slavery althoug it took you a long time. You will end this horrible gunownership I am for sure but reading the comments on this blog this will also take a long time. But it will!

    December 16, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Jake

    I say:
    BEFORE the conversation about guns ....
    All the above JUNK has ruined our kids !! You can talk about sensible gun control afterwards.
    Will the Entertainment Industry squawk ??..... Yes, but that's JUST TOO BAD !! The rest of us do not care about your 'blood money' profits!!

    If New York City can ban the size of a soda you purchase then why can't the above be just as constitutional ??
    Anyone caught disseminating violent games, videos, etc. to a minor = 1 year in jail mandatory.
    The kind of violence we have today did not exist before the above mentioned garbage existed !!!!!

    December 16, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Dark Space

    Dear B., I went to Canada once and loved it. I'll never forget it, though, because some deranged loonie walked into the school across from the park In Montreal I was in one of the days, lined up all the girls along one wall, and the boys on the other, and then shot all the girls. Crazy people can take their crazy anywhere, it happens around the world, and has for centuries.

    December 16, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Eeic

    Maybe we should start institutionalizing folks who have known mental issues. We throw drug addicts and alcoholics in jail who haven't hurt anyone but who are still considered a risk to society. For those who make the argument about the civil rights of these people, what about the rest of our civil rights?

    December 16, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. mack

    why is it everyone blames guns ? try to limit law abiding ppl when we all know criminals are not gona obey the law single shot ?ok you take a person who knows how to shoot i can get off alot off shots with a single shot think what carnage it would have ben with a 12ga .you take the guns out then you got machetes you got molotov cocktails you have ppl running ppl down with cars the point is if a criminal or a sick twisted person wants to kill they will do it regardless of a gun ban why take my rights to protect myself and my favorite hobby away look at china look at australia home invasions and stabbings

    December 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Michael

    This stupid law will not prevent what happened from happening again. There was nothing illegal about those guns. There was nothing sudden about their purchase. Psycho boy went postal and killed his mom his brother and a bunch of kids. There was a guy in China last year that AXE murdered 6 people at a kindergarten. 30,000 people die in vehicle incidents in a year we don't really give them much thought at all.

    December 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Yet another example of politicians taking a problem and producing a blanket solution that is unrealistic and irrational. Not to mention unconstitutional. Think about the caveman like mentality of the thought process......murder committed using assault rifle. Solution, ban all assault rifles. Why not use the same mentality for all other murders. Person drowned in bathtub, ban all bathtubs. Or even better ban all water. Person murdered with knife, ban all knives. Person burned, ban fire. It's sickening. We definitely have a problem in this country with violence. It's horrific and needs to be addressed Immediately by politicians who are up to the challenge of solving a very complex problem. Not using horrific tragedies performed by deranged human beings to capitalize on there own political rhetoric. Given the performance of our current government on many current issues facing the country I would prefer to rely on the judgement of our founding fathers. I can't help but think that when these tragedies occur, you never hear about a single person other than the deranged lunatic having a weapon. I just wonder if someone rational was armed during these nightmare events, if the outcome would be different. Think about the fact that Connecticut is one of the strictest states as it applies to gun control. The more amazing thing is we have all the evidence we need about government bans on items. It doesn't work. All it does is prevent law abiding citizens from access. I can't blame Senator Feinstein for wanting an immediate solution to a heinous problem. I know it will make her sleep better at night to know she did something. But her solution is unrealistic, simplistic, and thoughtless. It is a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that requires a great deal more thought.

    December 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Grady

    a national referendum is needed...put it to a vote...ban or no ban...let the people decide.

    December 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. jorge washinsen

    Anyone ever do a study on the response time for law enforcement in one of these cases? Be careful what you want to leave in the hands of people who are already overloaded with crime in this country.We like to think we can solve all things by passing more laws. One problem. Many people do not observe laws.Feel good legislation will solve nothing.

    December 16, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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