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. David

    Also stengthen laws that force gun owners to securely store their weapons – that include tough penalties if a weapon is stolen due to unsecure storage or lending of the weapon.

    December 16, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. unknown123456

    I haven't read her proposal, but if it is anything like the previous assault weapons ban, it will not mean a whole lot. The previous ban eliminated things that made the gun look scary (rail systems, pistol grips, etc.) . If she is focused on rifles..... she's looking at the wrong type of firearm. Anyone who looks at the Unified Crime Reports put out by the FBI can see that handguns are responsible for the most homicides - at 6220- followed by shotguns -at 356 - and finally rifles (of any kind) - at 323. There were also 1700 instances where the firearm was undermined.

    8583 gun related homicides in 2011, down 291 from the previous year and continuing the trend of decline since at least 2007.

    December 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. John

    no gun owner likes or supports a tragedy like this or any other one that has happened. But just once I would like to have those that want and support a ban of any kind, tell me specifically how it is going to stop a criminal or wacko from committing a crime. TELL ME! In detail how. If you think any law or ban can stop such tragedies then either you are misguided or ignorant. CT already had a assualt weapons law AND the kid was 20 which is illegal for him to have a handgun AND the school was a gun free zone! Wake up people!

    December 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. John the Historian

    America the biggest manufacturer of weapons in the world but no longer considered a manufacturing country. So sad. And consider most of the amrs are made in the South Republican territory. We need to destroy these merchants of death now and have full Gun Control. No weapons for terrorists.

    December 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. draper3916

    An armed society is a safer society. We cannot carry a police officer around on our hip, but we can carry a gun. We've put up with the anti-gun approach for too long, time to argue sensible gun legislation, like the right to bear arms and carry concealed. More concealed carry will result in less evil people doing mass evil things. Instead, they will go back to quietly removing themselves from this life alone. The way we wish they would and not hurt others.

    December 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I believe that the most important issue facing congress and our nation today as far as gun violence in America is concerned is what steps are we going to take to avoid such tragedies from happening in the future apart from just trying to regulate the sales of deadly assault weapons in our communities? For example, if another gunman decides to enter another school in the near future to repeat such a heinous carnage, HOW do we go about preventing such a tragedy from happening today? I believe that the best measure that state and local governments can and SHOULD implement NOW is to immediately establish and deploy a permanent swat team of two or more police officers to every elementary, middle and high school, college and university and shopping mall in America. It is evident by now that these assailants do not confront citizens unless these citizens are defenseless unarmed and helpless or vulnerable persons who cannot strike back. The last time I checked, we spent 5.2 trillion dollars fighting two foreign wars that are of no benefit to us whatsoever. I believe that it is essential for us as a nation to begin to implement resources where needed to defend and protect America's most important asset, our cherished citizens. I say a swat team at every school and shopping mall in America should be mandatory without further delay.

    December 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. EdD

    Feinstien just single-handedly sends assault rifle sales through the roof.

    December 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Vince

    I am without words to express the sorrow these poor people are enduring in this latest horror in a string of so many. I have read numerous responses as well as numerous articles by the "experts". It was fully expected that the overwhelming sentiment would be anti gun. What I find interesting though is that what I feel to be a very real underlying cause is rarely, if at all, mentioned. The lack of morality is a very real problem and a major contributing cause for these insane events. This American Empire of ours, in my opinion, reached its peak in the late 50's and as we continued down the path with diminished morals and fragmented families we witness the increasing decline of this once great country. Couple this with the prevailing lack of responsibility on so many peoples part and you get these horrific tragedies. Yes guns were used in this latest tragedy. Hand guns from what I've read. But again, they are only a tool and any tool in the wrong person’s hands can be dangerous. What we really need to examine is that the things I mentioned earlier, the lack of morality and the fragmented family structure, are at the root of the problem. What was considered immoral 40 years ago is being made formally legal today by voters, legislators and our courts. The prevalent "Wasn't me" attitude creates an environment that can only be dangerous. Bring back a society governed by morals and one that holds people responsible for their actions and then you will see a decline in this horrible type of behavior. Especially at this time of year we need to examine the direction we are heading. Look around you at how people are preparing for their respective holidays. We have lost our footing and are sliding down a very treacherous slope. Is it too late? Who can say? What I do know is that the great people of this country can make it better. Don’t blame guns, alcohol, cars, our childhood, our divorce, our absent parent our whatever. Take responsibility and take a stand. My Christmas wish for all of us is that we as a society recognize the problem and intelligently address it. God bless you all.

    December 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. La Keisha

    Ban on assault rifles? Would not stop someone who is bent on causing hell to do this. Didn't this wacko use handguns? What about VA tech, he used handguns too.

    People who own assault rifles use them either for hunting, or mostly for target, which is a hobby to some. Most people who own assault rifles know that using them in self defense is overkill, since the bullets will go through walls and even humans.

    Taking guns away does not eliminate gun crime, it will reduce it. Criminals will not turn in their assault rifles and given the chance, they will use it on someone innocent. Your have a higher chance of being involved with a criminal then a deranged serial shooter.

    December 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    An "assault weapon" is defined as a weapon that is capapable of firing more than one round with a single trigger pull. The weapon he used was a semi-automatic sporting rifle. It just looks like the military version. Odd though that initial reports was that he used 2 handguns and an "assault rifle" was found in his vehicle. Funny how quickly that changed huh?

    December 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. chupacabra

    to "jason" at 4;36......first that pilot has got to get to the plane that drops it, and unless he gets refuled forever, he's got to land eventualy...?

    December 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Bill

    Only in CA. I hope the NRA and gun owners will win this round. Sad for the kids in CT, but you can't let lunatics like this screw it up for everyone who wants to own a rifle or gun.

    Alcohol kills just as much too so we should ban them. Seeing as how politics and society are now days, we'll end up banning assault weapons, but we just legalized marijuana.

    December 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Paul

    The assault weapons ban from Clinton did not work and was a waste of limited congressional time. The ban was just as ineffective and purposefuless and stupid and then as it would to reenstate it again.
    When there is a crisis who do americans call.
    We call the police, the ones with guns and authority.
    The proposed assualt weapons ban does not change who we call in crisis.
    We need a fix to who how we act before we call someone who is miles away from the crisis.
    The media needs to deliver the truth about what happens before the police arrive and find the killer dead.
    We need to celebrate the brave people who acted before the police arrived and acted to defend themselves against an idoit with a weapon. The weapon nomenclature does not matter. It is an idiot with a weapon and the action to stop that idiot before the police and the media arrive Senator Fienstien; that is where your head needs to be.

    December 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, I'm not concerned about gun lovers running out to their local gun stores and stocking up on assault weapons in wake of this tragedy as Americans are now demanding more regulation. That is I'm not concerned as long as these gun lovers buy these guns and then turn these guns on themselves before they can do harm top others. So go out and buy your guns but please make sure to use them on yourselves and do America a well deserved favor. So long.

    December 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Didn't the Colorado governor just state in a previous article that folks ought to curb their addiction to violent video games? It seems as if a great many NRA members ought to heed what the good governor is saying ... in their own lives. Especially those NRA trolls advocating for more guns. Fantasy is fantasy.

    December 16, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Morons on the RIGHT

    Hey how well did the mother protect herself with all the guns she owned?? HMMMMM

    December 16, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. evolve1

    This is just Feinstein opportunistically exploiting tragedy for political gain again. The shooter didn't even use a so-called assault weapon, and the last two who did both had them jam, saving lives, not increasing the death toll. The deadliest mass shootings have been with handguns and bolt-action hunting rifles. And even in the larger context those firearms are the least used in any type of violent crime. According to the FBI they are used in only 2% of gun crimes. But Feinstein and her ghoulish pal Bloomberg apparently sit up at night drooling over the prospect of another such tragedy as an opportunity to push for their own pet projects, whether they are at all relevant to the circumstances of a crime or not.

    What they and we all should be demanding to know is why, this long after Columbine, Virginia Tech, and 911, it is still possible for someone, armed or not, to gain access to such a sensitive place as an elementary school without having legitimate business there. Government workers are protected in their offices by secured entry control measures, as are art museums and even libraries. Feinstein and Bloomberg have their own private armed security. Are our children not at least as worthy of some type of protection? Why, rather than wasting billions of dollars on militarizing the police, who can only respond after the fact, hasn't the federal government funded the purchase of decent doors, locks, and security systems for our school children? After all, the deadliest school attack in the US wasn't even carried out by someone with a gun. You can never anticipate or regulate every possible weapon of mass carnage that one of these psychopaths will use, so putting your effort into passing a gun control law (especially one like Feinstein's, which is aimed at the totally wrong type of gun if it was intended to stop mass-shootings), is a completely idiotic and worthless waste of time and resources. What we should be demanding instead is that the places where we trust our children will be safe will not be so poorly secured that any psycho off the street can just walk in if he wants to.

    December 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. A Cul

    I can't believe some people have actually stated that the problem is a lack of guns. One congressman said that the principal should've been armed with a gun so that she could have tracked down the killer and diffused the situation single handedly. So, basically in a state of panic and without any real combat traning, she could've been a deterrant to the murders. This makes no sense.

    December 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Craig

    killing 5 people is acceptable..... just not 20... that is what I'm seeing in a lot of these posts.......Shouldn't 0 be the only acceptable number.

    December 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Rick

    Jeff, I honestly don't have a problem with answering that question. If I COULD go back in time and be there with my 5.7mm, I can honestly say I would have shot Mr. Lanza without hesitation. Of course, my answer might have something to do with the fact that I was trained as a teacher, and it hurt more than usual to see something like this happen to those kids. Their lives were just starting, and this insect took them away. I'm not normally inclined to violence, but this pissed me off enough to kill. None of us should have to even a

    December 16, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. LadyD

    "But just once I would like to have those that want and support a ban of any kind, tell me specifically how it is going to stop a criminal or wacko from committing a crime. "
    Well, in this case, if citizens were not allowed to own assault rifles or high-capacity guns or whatever you gun nuts call it, then this nut job would not have been able to take his mother's automatic rifle and put the 11 bulllets or so into each of their little, innocent bodies. Even better, if she were not allowed to own a handgun, he wouldn't have been able to kill the 2 or 5 people that type of weapon would be likely to kill. It's too late though, y'all are right about the fact that we love our "rights" more than we love the safety of children. This is the America you all are responsible for creating.

    December 16, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Feinstien just single-handedly sends assault rifle sales through the roof.


    If your statement is true , we sure live in a fear based society .

    Nobody except the military needs such weapons , and criminals that do use them should be treated as terrorists , as should those involved in Narco trafficking. Organized Crime loves the NRA , ask any criminal .

    December 16, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    So what exactly is an "assault weapon"? Technical speaking any gun is an "assault weapon" is it not? Hell a bow and arrow qualifies as well.

    December 16, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Seth

    In my opinion people are rushing to gun legislation like they rushed to the Patriot Act. Introducing new legislation just after a tragedy is a well-known tactic called Shock Doctrine. People are willing to believe that this legislation will prevent gun-related deaths somehow. In reality, increased awareness and training is required to help identify and help people who have the mental problems that are associated with violent behavior.

    And the way that the media sensationalizes mass murders is shameful. It's one thing to exploit celebrities who have drug problems, but it's quite another to interview children whose friends were just killed on TV. And it's not good to turn the perpetrators into celebrities, either. Many of the mass-shooter type people feel socially isolated to the extent that they would rather be remembered as a monster than not remembered at all.

    December 16, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Cantard

    -My name is Bob. I'm a mob enforcer. I got my automatic weapon from my international connections. I kill people who oppose my organization. I am not the target of gun control laws.

    -My name is Carlos. I'm a LA gang banger with connections to Mexican drug cartels. I got my automatic weapon from my domestic/international connections. I kill those who oppose my organization. I am not the target of gun control laws.

    -My name is Jim. I'm a mentally daranged person or have a severe emotional problem. I got my automatic weapon from my local gun show. I'm going to comment mass murder for no logically decernable reason. I am the target of gun control laws.

    The point here is that Jim does not have connections to get illegal weapons and will most likely only have those weapons readily avaliable to the average citizen. Jim is going to randomly kill people. Bob and Carlos will get guns no matter what law is passed but will not likely kill random people for no decernable reason. Gun laws exist to stop Jim. Police, Law Enforecement, and the Military exists to stop Bob an Carlos.

    December 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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