Grassley suggests openness to gun control idea
January 11th, 2013
03:16 PM ET
10 years ago

Grassley suggests openness to gun control idea

(CNN) - Sen. Chuck Grassley, a conservative Republican from Iowa, suggested Friday he may be open to a limited form of gun control - restricting the size of gun magazines - if that legislation does not violate the Constitutional protection of gun rights.

"I think that's a whole different issue and it can maybe be dealt with without violating the Second Amendment, but I want to see the legislation," Grassley told Iowa Public Television in an interview Friday.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

But he reaffirmed his opposition to reinstating the assault weapons ban that Congress passed in 1994.

Asked if he would support limiting the capacity of gun magazines, Grassley further qualified his remark.

"I would not say at this point because Senator [Dianne] Feinstein has said her bill is going to be much different than the law she got passed in 1994 and I think I'd better wait 'til I see the legislation," he said.

Feinstein, D-California, has been one of several voices in Congress supporting renewal or strengthening of the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 and has not been renewed. A number of pieces of gun control legislation have been introduced in the new Congress.

The assault weapons ban included a limit on the capacity of gun magazines, which can either be permanently attached to a firearm or removable. It banned certain semi-automatic pistols, some shotguns, and other firearms which had specific combinations of features, such as a telescoping ability or bayonet mount, as well as ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Grassley pointed out that the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado occurred while the assault weapons ban was in effect. The 17- and 18-year-old students carried semi-automatic pistols and rifles.

Feinstein, said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" days after the December 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut that her legislation would include a ban of "big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets."

"There is no Second Amendment right to bear every type of weapon that you know of. These are a certain class of weapons," she said. "They are designed to kill large numbers of people in close combat. I don't believe the Second Amendment covers them. The Second Amendment was written a long time before this class of weapons was founded, merchandised, and spread all over our country."

Grassley did not specifically indicate in the interview how he understands ammunition and magazine clips as fitting into the Second Amendment, which reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

He said in the interview that he supports preventing firearms from being sold to individuals with certain mental health issues, as well as individuals with felony convictions - who are barred from purchasing guns.

"I am a supporter of the Second Amendment," he said. "I also think though that we do have to do things to make sure the database of the FBI has all the information so people can't buy guns who shouldn't have guns."

He also indicated he is opposed to requiring a mental health test before a gun purchase and found violent video games to be a "very difficult issue" because of First Amendment – freedom of speech – protections.

Vice President Joe Biden has been leading the Obama administration's task force on the issue and said he will submit recommendations to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

Filed under: Chuck Grassley • Dianne Feinstein
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. 2012liberal

    NRA hear no evil see no evil speak no evil. Just pay yr dues and shut up. We speak 4 manufactors only. Yr dues go 2 our political agenda but laws r being made against unions that pay dues 4 their political agenda. Which is 4 the ppl not 4 corperations.

    January 11, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. 2012liberal

    Got 2 love boehner and his political theater!

    January 11, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    Totalitarianism in America has managed to creep into the mainstream. In 25 years, the American experiment in democracy will be over. Then, today's progressives, will be wondering how it all turned against them without realizing or admitting that it happened entirely because of progressive policies now championed by liberals who demonize and attack anyone with a different position. In the near future, they will find themselves as the enemy of the state they are now creating.

    January 11, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    There were armed guards at Columbine and that didn't stop a thing. So arming teachers is NOT the solution. How about having metal detectors at school entrances for a start? Sen. Grassley is trying t hae his cake and eat it to. You're either for gun control or agianst it. There's no way around it.

    January 11, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. CBP

    Double speak once again. The Sen. is leaving the door wide open for his retreat.

    January 11, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Watch how fast the phone calls and threats from his district and the NRA change his later than Monday morning.

    January 11, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Steve Horvath

    This letter is aimed at Piers Morgan, Diane Feinstein, Nancy Palosi, and other anti-gun radicals who
    naively believe that more restrictive gun laws will make us safer.
    I live in Powell, Wyoming, a small town about twenty five miles northeast of Cody. There aren’t a lot of
    ridicules gun laws here. Most people have firearms in there homes and a lot of these are the dreaded
    ‘assault rifle’ types and have ammunition clips capable of the scary amount of eleven or more shells.
    We can, and some do, carry these weapons exposed in our vehicles; I believe it is even lawful to walk
    down the streets carrying one. People don’t, but have the freedom to do so if they choose. People often
    can be seen wearing side-arms while shopping in the Wal-Mart store and eating at McDonalds.
    As you can imagine from the amount of assault rifles and other weapons, and the lack of strict gun laws
    like the ones in New York or Washington, that it’s a very dangerous place to live . Its so dangerous, there are
    no drug cartels, no gangs, and such.
    I would make a challenge to the three anti-gun radicals mentioned above, or any others of their ilk, to the
    following test.
    I will cancel the insurance on my vehicle and park it, undamaged, on any street in my town at midnight every
    night for a week. You can even pick the place. I will then leave my vehicle unattended, without any anti-theft
    devices, walk around unescorted, with a thousand dollars in my wallet, alone until daylight. At sunrise on the
    seventh day, I will wager, I still have my thousand dollars and my vehicle is not damaged or missing.
    You, or any of your kind, cancel insurance on your personal vehicle. At midnight, for seven nights, I will pick a
    location to park your undamaged auto. It will be in a city that has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the
    country. Lets say Chicago, Illinois. Having the most anti-gun laws in the country, it should be the safest in the
    country; right. You will then leave your vehicle, unattended, without any anti-theft devices, walk around
    unescorted, with a thousand dollars in your wallet, alone until daylight. At sunrise on the seventh day, if your
    still here, you pay me the amount equal to the value of your missing, or damaged vehicle and cash losses;
    and I will pay you the amount equal to my vehicles damages and cash losses.

    Steve Horvath
    Powell, WY

    January 11, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Steve Horvath

    Limiting amunition mags to ten rounds had no effect before; it won't now.
    Stricter laws on law abiding rational citizens is not the answer.
    Look at Chicago and other pklaces where the strictest laws are.
    Education and screening for mental illness might be part of the answer.
    Media enduced hysteria, Piers Morgan and others, makes the situation worse for everyone.

    January 11, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Grassley will be doing th emoonwalk on this during the Sunday morning GOP media blitz.

    January 11, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Dr Matrix

    Mr Horvath,
    I think it would be safe to assume that walking around your village from midnight to dawn you are unlikely to encounter anyone, much less a hostile Chicagoite looking to rob you. You may become a midnight snack for a bear. To which I say thank God for the bear. This is as ridiculous as comparing gun deaths to automotive deaths.

    January 11, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    LOL!'s a little hint:

    Powell, WY – Middle of NOWHERE, population 6,400.

    Chicago, IL – Major urban center, population 2,700,000+

    Comparing what happens to an unlocked, unattended vehicle in the middle of the night in these two municipalities is PATENTLY ABSURD. It's truly is no freekin wonder that we can't have a sane conversation about gun safety.

    January 11, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    @Steve Horvath:

    I grew up in a small town as well, plenty of hunters, etc. Plenty of guns too. What makes a town safe is the people looking out for each other. The Gangs in Chicago buy the bulk of their guns legally in Indiana and Wisconsin, places that have far looser gun restrictions than Chicago. The gun shops and pawn shops outside of Chicago do a brisk business from gangsters legally pruchasing guns, nto to mention private sales by people with no scruples ,The Chicago gun ban did reduce the number of murders until the NRA had their local law struck down. I find it ironic that you are willing to let someone in DC decide what people in Chicago can do, since you make a point of trumpeting how morally superior your town in WY is. What makes it safe is not the guns, its the people. I guarantee if your town develops a severe drug problem, violance will not be far behind. It happened in my small town, and we have had drive bys, murders, as well as countless, good old-fashioned beat downs. A few years ago, one of our cops was shot at by a man with an assault rifle because the perp was behind on his child support: care to comment on that?

    January 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    Nation needs GUN-BAN LAW. 26 kids died as a result of this buy-out by the most idiotic NRA and their lobby for 12 billion dollars a year profit, greed.

    January 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. FOX NEWS: The dung beetle of journalism.

    By tomorrow noon, the good Congressman will be flailing and trying to explain how he "misspoke" or stating the lamestream media took his words "out of context" to start a smear campaign against him.

    (Yawn)We have all seen this drama pic before.

    January 11, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |