January 27th, 2013
10:57 AM ET
9 years ago

Feinstein: NRA is 'venal'

(CNN) – Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday described the National Rifle Association as the biggest stumbling block to passing her assault weapons ban proposal.

"The NRA is venal. They come after you, they put together large amounts of money to defeat you," she said on CNN's "State of the Union." "They did this in '93, and they intend to continue it."

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Feinstein on Thursday introduced details on a ban that would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semiautomatic rifles. It would also limit the number of rounds in a magazine to 10.

The restrictions would not apply to guns owned before enactment of any law. Feinstein noted her proposal exempts from the ban more than 2,000 models used for hunting or sporting purposes.

In order for the proposal to go anywhere, Feinstein needs enough support from conservative Democrats, who will likely face intense lobbying from the NRA and other pro-gun groups.

While she recognized Sunday that passing the ban will be an "uphill fight" and the "hardest of the hard," she expressed confidence that she can at least get it to the Senate floor.

"There will be a package put together. If 'assault weapons' is left out of the package - and I'm a member of (the) Judiciary (committee), No. 2 in seniority - I've been assured by the majority leader I'll be able to do it as an amendment on the floor."

Feinstein helped push through the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. She argued Sunday that the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last month was the tipping point in getting the ban reinstated.

"For me Sandy Hook was an epiphany," she told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "(The gunman) got a very powerful weapon. He went out with that weapon, and he killed 5- and 6- and 7-year-olds, I understand, with three to 11 bullets in each of their bodies, with a weapon that had the velocity of which could really rip these bodies apart. That should not be able to happen."

Vice President Joe Biden, who also helped champion the original assault weapons ban, expressed support for the ban on Thursday. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that his legislative agenda to curb gun violence included a ban on assault weapons and a cap on magazine capacity.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, railed against Obama's inauguration speech, in which the president made a brief reiteration of his push for gun control.

"When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone's graffiti," LaPierre said in a speech Tuesday. "Words do have meaning, Mr. President. And those meanings are absolute, especially when it comes to our Bill of Rights."

Feinstein, however, said Sunday it boils down to one question: "Does government have an obligation to protect those children?"

"I believe we do," she continued. "I believe we do."

- CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Gun control • Gun rights • Senate • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. twiz123

    I would support her on this issue if she could come up with one shred of evidence that the ban would change ANYTHING. She and her liberal know nothing buddies are passing laws and don't really even grasp the concept of the weapons they are talking about. Feinstein and Carolyn McCarthy passed the first ban because of the Virginia Tech shooting. The problem is even after the ban that's guy's rifle passed many, maybe all, of the banned items. Crime went up during the ban and down after the ban...even the ATF I think it was has said a ban would have so little effect due to the lack of assault weapons in crimes that IF it had ANY effect at all it would be almost immeasurable. Something needs to be fixed with our country but a quick fix assault weapon ban will do NOTHING to that end. Look at maybe video games, or look at maybe the act that we hand out prozac like tic tacs to children. I think every one of these kids are suspected to have been on meds like prozac and ritalin and we also know (I think) that they both were "gamers". I am not demonizing gamers or drugs but maybe its the combination of the two or something else...I don't know...and neither does Fienstein. So lets figure out what the problem actually is BEFORE we create new laws. If feinstein was a doctor she would race to surgery and then run tests afterwards...

    January 27, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Cricket666

    While all of this is going on, our duly elected Republican "officials' are bowing down and groveling at the feet of norquist, asking him what should they do.

    January 27, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. JZ from NJ

    Don't worry NRA, nobody is actually going to take the guns back. This is just another distraction so the politicians can make it seem that they care about fixing a problem and the lobbyists can make it seem like they defending the interests of their clients. Guns, alcohol, drugs, violent movies and videos, pornography, iPhones, gay marriage, Beyonce, NASCAR, reality TV, Facebook.........these are the distractions they want us to have.

    January 27, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Phineas Dregg

    Actually, this does apply to guns owned before the bill would go into effect. It says these firearms cannot be transferred. That means that no weapon that Feinstien does not approve of could be left to your children. If things get tough for you financially, you cannot sell the weapon to help pay the bills. Its yours and yours only until you die, then it must be turned over to the government.

    January 27, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Howard

    It's time we label the NRA for what it really is ... a terrorist organization. Exteme? Perhaps, but consider not only the motivation but also the impact of successful defeating any effort to prevent the manufacture and sale to civilians of armor piercing ammunition ... ammunition that can only serve to kill police officers wearing body armor.

    What responsibility, patriotic organization would be supportive of enabling criminals and other terrorists being able to kill police officers?

    January 27, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. cant have my guns

    Sen Feinstein please let us not for get the War Lancer Assault Rifle to your list of guns I am not to own, also lets make suer that all dogs have know how to drive a car so they dont kill tveir owners

    I.E. Man run over, killed when dog jumps in car and pushes gas pedal

    January 27, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. ronnie57

    Sign up today and join THE NRA.

    January 27, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. 21st Century Johny Reb

    The Article plainly says ,",People who already own these guns can keep them"__ What they are not telling you is that when these owners DIE the gun must be turned over to government to be DESTROYED,,these confiscated guns cannot be passed on to the next generation,,, is this VENAL ?? Hell , I don't know,,but it damn sure is WRONG.

    January 27, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. scott

    he only used handguns in the sandy hook shooting. the ar-15 was in the trunk. no laws, bans or restrictions will prevent a psycho from killing 30 people or children.

    January 27, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Michael Tosto

    Feinstein, get out of my country. Read the Constitution and why the 2nd amendment is what it is. Saying they didn't have semi-automatics back then isn't a valid argument, cause our government didn't have full automatics or drones. You are all hypocrites with armed guards. Obama and other elite children of news reporters, etc go to the school that has armed guards. Remove all YOUR guns and I'll follow!

    January 27, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. JM

    In the eyes of that group nothing comes before profits.

    January 27, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Michael Tosto

    Remove all your armed guards and I'll follow!

    January 27, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. mec

    I, for one, am glad we have the NRA to counter balance the liberals in Washington. Granted, the NRA can actually take it too far sometimes, but so can the politicians.

    If the government would've created reasonable laws, the NRA, and the rest of the US, wouldn't have gotten so up in arms, so to speak.

    January 27, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. menisino

    So lets throw in Harry Reid;John McCain;Lin dsay Graham & other `veterans,perhaps even sinile,self-interest senators with no balls to do whats good for the country but whats good for themselves..In reality it`s these dispicable senators that should be targeted in the media & in the senate.

    January 27, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Tyler

    they were killed with hand guns. the AR15 was in the trunk of the vehicle. there is video evidence proving this.

    January 27, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. JustWho

    I didn't elect any jerk in the NRA to speak for me.

    January 27, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Crystal

    True. They don't represent the interests of gun owners, they represent the interests of gun manufacturers. I read a story on CNN where they just turned on this congress woman who voted against a bill that allowed concealed hand gun owners to use their guns (or was it bring their guns) on someone else's private property, which is really messed up. You have the right to decide who should be on your private property. She recently had a A+ NRA rating and then after that it dropped to an F and she was voted out and that was after they launched a smear campaign against her. It's quite childish how all lobbying groups work to keep lawmakers in their pockets. Hopefully during the mid term elections, all of those house gop members who are backed by the NRA will be voted out. I don't mind the Senate GOP as they seem willing to make compromises.

    January 27, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. K from AZ

    I think she has it 'bass akwards'! She is venal!

    January 27, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. joe

    Just so you know, in Canada we can buy AR-5's and large clips. As well, we have violent video games and all other items that politicians are laying blame on. These people are leading you in the wrong direction, it's the media glorifying these criminals that's the problem.

    January 27, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Big Ben

    We had a home invasion here where a young 30 year old father was killed. His guns did not do him any good. The robbers were after his guns, so he was a target for his guns.

    January 27, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. callnews

    olepi, you got the definition right, but you're not right.

    January 27, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. juliemac

    Not just as a member of the NRA, but as a citizen will I fight this woman and any other politician trying to take rights away.
    Our men and women, fought hard, some times giving their lives, to pass to us, our freedoms.
    It is up to the citizens to maintain those freedoms and protect them from those that wish to diminish our ancestors sacrifice. Not to, diminishes their sacrifice.
    United we stand; Divided we fall.

    January 27, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. sgurdog

    4 million NRA members. That's not a lot when you consider there are 300 million of us in America and we can donate money too. 🙂

    Some of the most vocal opponents of reasonable gun legislation are so angered by the very idea that they won't be able to get whatever they want when they want it that they actually appear to be unbalanced ones that need the mental health evaluation.

    Also, to the absolutist who thinks this country will not evolve/progress...it's been changing all along and will continue to change whether you want it to or not. You can't take your country back because it's not something you can control. You fear the words gun control but what you really fear is your lack of it.

    January 27, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. John the Historian

    Senator Feinstein represents the great state of California so millions voted for her. She was there when mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk were murdered because of hate. The NRA only wants guns for terrorists and murderers. The NRA doesn't even want backgrond checks and all the loopholes they don't want closed. The USA is the biggest arms manufacturer in the world, nothing to be proud of. How many terrorist states have we supplied. Never forget Reagan armed Osama Bin Laden and trained him. How many assault weapons and rapid firing guns do you need to kill bambi. The second amendment is about a well regulated militia. Don't forget poison gas, tanks and machine guns are arms should we allow them ??? Soon the NRA and right-winged Scalia will want Americans to have suitcases with atomic weapons. Look at the statistics of Japan, England, and Germany. We do not need the wild wlld West. What about my right not to have arms in my presence. I guess Jesse James and the mob are heroes to the NRA.

    January 27, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. i12bphil

    The 2nd amendment is a real problem for her kind of ilk. First they want to take your money and give it to people who didn't work for it, force the country to buy into a program destined to be a dismal failure, tax industry and individuals to the point where they leave the U.S., spend beyond control, then come for your arms so you can't do anything about it.

    January 27, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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