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. Johnnymigs

    It's a good start but falls short as isn't a retroactive ban. If existing assault weapons are still on the street, what's the point? Why not an amnesty period or a buy-back program with proceeds going to victims of these types of crimes?

    December 16, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. jorge washinsen

    I see the weekend help is at it again.You make the decisions who speaks and who listens.

    December 16, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. mack

    we need to arm the teachers. you gun ban ppl you tell me what criminal or sick twisted person intent on death and destruction is gona obey the law

    December 16, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Larry L


    I do not think people understand what an "assault weapon" truly is? I mean can someone here actually define to me what that term means? I own zero "assault weapons" yet I own several semi-automatic rifles that have the capability of being far more deadly than these "assault rifles." The assault rifles we are talking about are semi-automatic (fire one round each time the trigger is pulled) and tend to be .223 caliber. Which in all honestly is a varmint gun.
    Don't BS people who know guns – you know the answer to your question. A .223/5.56 is a common caliber for military weapons – you know that. It's also used for varmints because of the flat trajectory and high velocity. I own semi-automatic weapons and have never, ever used those large-capacity magazines for anything. I have enjoyed high-capacity magazines for rim-fire plinking.

    I know all semi-automatic weapons aren't designed for war – but all with high-capacity magazines are great choices for acts of terror in civilian populations. Most of the "black guns" are in fact military weapons modified to fire semi-auto only – but excite gun nuts with bayonet lugs, night-vision scopes, and "manly" mounts and rails. You can kill better when you don't need to reload – and reloading might give helpless victims precious seconds to reach safety. Controlling this obvious problem requires compromise and reason – not N.R.A. soundbites. Gun enthusiasts need to become honest brokers rather than N.R.A. radicals. Don't think the population will tolerate this situation forever.

    December 16, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Reagan80

    Ever wonder why liberals want to look for the "root causes" of every atrocity except those committed inside the U.S. with guns?

    December 16, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. marty

    On the public side, I would think that those who work in the law enforcement field and must deal with these tragedies would have some very pertlinent imput on how to curb these horrible acts of vliolence.

    On the political side, action to pass a good, concrete law can be passed as swiftly as it was with the Michigan Right to Work law. It can be done if lawmakers want it .......done!

    An automatic weapon purchased with a few empty bullets should satisfy a "gun collector".

    December 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Steve

    The problem with all of this gun control legislation is that it is clearly unconstitutional. The right to bear arms shall not be infringed means that you cannot regulate it. The only way to change this is thorugh the amendment process which you will never be able to get the votes for in this country in this day and age. Just not gonna happen. Also to the morning who likened such legislation to restriction on smoking in public areas or the requirement for a driver's license or car insurance, this is clearly a stupid argument. There is no right in the constitution to smoke or to drive a car. There is a specific individual right to own firearms. Its not in the same league from a constitutional perspective. Trying to use such a tragedy for your own political ends is shameful. If you really want to know why these tragic incidents occur look in the mirror. Liberalism and the left have killed the idea of personal responsibility.

    December 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Ernest

    To all the "gun lovers" who say things like "if you don't love the laws of this country, leave" ... My answer is simply "NO". I will not leave. I will speak. That is also a constitutional guarantee, my Right to speak, to have an opinion. If you weren't so busy misrepresenting the 2nd Amendment maybe you would have read the 1st Amendment. The 2nd Amendment clearly begins with: A Well Regulated Militia......the subject of the sentence is the well regulated militia, not the general citizenry. The Constitution itself defines the Well Regulated Militia as being a force under the control of the Government and whose officer's will be appointed by Congress. Again, not "bubba" and his drunken, hunter friends. I don't have a problem with people owning hunting rifles or soe handguns, but "assault-style" weapons should not be allowed. Just like I can't by a working tank, armed fighter plane, or any other "military" weapon assault weapons should be for the military only. Get over it!!

    December 16, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Lulu

    This will be just as effective as the "war on drugs" and "no child left behind". Meanwhile the drug problem in America is worse and our education system is broken.

    Great job.

    December 16, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Here's and idea. Let's stop spending billions on a wasted drug war and divert that money to providing a minimum of 3 officers per school. Each school can only have one way in. Then we change the laws that keep us from carrying guns in the rest of the places we go in public. An armed society is a polite society. For those that choose not to carry a gun because of there aversion to them can choose to not do so. I just don't recommend that you start any clubs called the "Anti Gun Society" and have any regular meetings. We know who the crazies will target next.

    December 16, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Sierra Moose

    Shooting happened on Friday. And they have already identified 900 weapons they want to exempt. I know a thing or two about weapons. But, comming up with a list of 900 weapons in under two days and examining their technicalities to the point you exempt or ban them for a certain legislation is impossible.

    This legislation was always in the works. They are using the tragedy as an excuse to push it.

    December 16, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. mark273

    May God bless this senator's efforts.

    December 16, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. jn122736

    Ryan said: "I would like to remind you all of one thing, 9/11 was accomplished with box cutters"-----

    You could also add that the hijackers of the plane that crashed in Penn. would almost certainly have been successful if guns had NOT been banned.

    December 16, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Try Again

    The Assault Weapons Ban from 1994-2004 did nothing to curb gun violence in the US. Look it up if you don't believe me

    December 16, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Actual American

    To respond to RICHARD. That is very misguided and a horrible thing to do to your 2nd Amend. Right. The reason we even have it is to be able to secure the future of the PEOPLE of this country from the Military/Police if needed not GIVE ALL THE GUNS TO MILITARY/Police and leave the civilians empty handed.

    December 16, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. sugarKube

    Kalifornia is broke an one horrible mess. Why should they talk for the honest citizens in America?

    December 16, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. TK421

    Have you ever heard of the second amendment "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" what part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand? Read other documents and letters from our founding fathers and you will learn the right to keep arms was so we as citizens can over throw our govererment if needed, think of it as a insurance policy against our own government. It make sure the goverment can't take away our other rights like the first amendment.

    December 16, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Francis

    The bodies of the children aren't even cold, and politicans have brought out this bill drawn up and ready to go. It was filed away, awaiting a tragedy like this, to be brought to the floor, so it could simultaneously tug at the heart strings of Americans.

    December 16, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. angryblackman

    The issue is not the need to ban weapons. The issue is the need to use modern tech to make guns only usable by the person they are registered to. We have biometric capabilities like in judge dread. Only the hand print or voice print of the person the gun belongs to could activate it. If the guns in the connecticut incident had been fitted with these types of protections the son would never have been able to use his mother's guns. Time to make gun ownership more responsible.

    December 16, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Steve Pruszynski

    Its not the guns that are the problem. You can pass all the restriction and laws you want and it will cure nothing. Guns of all types have been in society for a long time. What has changed is our attitudes toward each other and what is and is not off limits. Most gun owners are responsible individuals and understand that if you exercise your constitutional right to bare arms that this comes with a great deal of responsibility for owning that weapon. You cannot legislate these events out of existence. There are more then adequate laws now on the books to regulate fire arms but they are not being enforced. We indoctrinate our society with violence every day in the news. We thrive on conflict, in our movies, and games. The media turns these tragic events in to a circus Until we start to regain our moral character and celebrate the sanctity of life and think more about helping each other and less of our selves then this will continue.

    December 16, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. batjones

    The question we should be asking is how much profit will the directors of Cerberus Capital (the parent company of Bushmaster Firearms) make off of the deaths of these children that are being killed by assault rifles. Steve Feinberg, interim CEO of Bushmaster and Cerberus Capital founder; John Snow, former Secretary of the Treasury, Dan Quayle, former Vice President of the United States. These are men from within the powers of government not men afraid of the government. They have no concerns about their Second Amendment rights being violated.

    December 16, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Michelle

    I guess the politicians think that they have to at least appear to be doing something to "fix" the situation. Many of the criminals on the street with guns can't afford assault weapons, anyway, though.

    December 16, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Free Thinker

    I don't like the NRA. I used to – I appreciated the hunter safety course it provided when I was 12 – but I really didn't like its tactis in the 1990s when it depicted the ATF as storm troopers. But that is its First Amendment right.

    But I equally dislike those that want to limit the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. That's called the Second Amendment.

    The fact is, a gun is a gun is a gun. In the military I learned to speed load a revolver so well that I could outperform many armed with a semi-outomatic (frankly, the reliability of the weapon and loads available probably make it more likely that a person with a revolver that knows how to hit her target is more likely to kill than someone with a semi-auto).

    Another fact overlooked here is that the killer here didn't buy them – he killed their owner and stole them. Maybe the result would be different if she had kept all but one of her weapons in a safe to which her son did not have access, but that is pure speculation (again, one weapon or three, the results could have been the same).

    The sad fact is that our society is going in the toilet. Fourty years ago, many kids in high school took guns to school – in the rack of their trucks or the trunks of their cars – and it was unheard of for a disagreement to escalate to the point a firearm became involved. Why? Maybe because kids in those days were raised by a different type of parent and were instilled with a different set of values.

    So, what is the answer? Here, the owner legally owned her guns and was killed so that the killer could take the guns (I would be interested to learn if she died trying to stop him) so the qualities of the owner does not appear to be the issue. So is the answer to focus on the guns themselves? As many have pointed out, these were semi-automatic weapons. The bushmaster rifle is easy to villify because it looks like am M-16, but then what happens to the Mini-14 or the myriad of other, non-military looking (i.e. – no pistol grip) weapons that accept a magazine? The fact is that, if a weapon will accept a 5 round magazine, it will accept a 50 round magazine. So is the answer to ban all weapons that accept magazines? (if you think banning magazines is the answer, you are only fooling yourself – they are simple stamped metal, simple to make, and there are millions of them out there). The same with handguns. So what if the magazine holds 10, 12, 15, 17, or 19 rounds? Anyone that has any idea of what s/he is doing can change magazines in less than two seconds – so that means a 10 round magazine means changing twice as often? Who thinks that matters? And, back to my earlier point – with practice one can speedload a revolver nearly as efficiently as one can change magazines – such that, no matter what weapon a cirminal is carrying, s/he can kill with near impunity unless and until confronted with force sufficient to neutralize or subdue the armed criminal.

    So let's call things as they are – the gun control crowd has had a bill drafted and was waiting for the opportunity to introduce it. They understand they can't take away all gun rights at one time and so are setting out to take what they think they can. So they take away the right to purchase large magazines and certain types of rifles. What happens next time (and, I am sorry to say, there will be a next time)? The road map seems pretty clear, and ends with either a step back to repeating arms (vice semi-automatic) where the law abiding still have weapons but are outgunned by the non-law abiding (look at violence in Toronto, Canada – gangs with full auto weapons, citizens with shotguns that must be broken down and locked away) or a repeal of the second amendment and a complete ban on firearms – in which case we will all be like little children with no means to defend ourselves against the criminal or derranged that means to do us harm.

    Or we could have a more rational conversation and look at why it would occur to anyone to commit these heinous crimes.

    December 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Dave in Canada

    Perhaps that's what your forefathers should have written. "The right to bare arms."

    December 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |

    "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,"

    here it comes folks...

    December 16, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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