Feinstein has assurance assault weapon ban will get a vote

WASHINGTON Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:10pm EST

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks to the media on NRA/assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks to the media on NRA/assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The senator leading the charge to revive a assault weapons ban conceded on Sunday, just days before hearings on gun control open, that winning Senate passage will be tough but said she has been assured she will have the chance to bring it up for a vote.

President Barack Obama, who has made gun control a top priority after 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman on December 14 at a Connecticut school, said in remarks published on Sunday that gun control advocates should take into account the views of rural Americans who use guns for hunting.

"Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas," Obama told The New Republic magazine as he continued his administration's outreach to gun owners even as he seeks new gun restrictions.

Senator Dianne Feinstein said Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that even if the assault weapons ban is left out of a broader package intended to curb gun violence, she will have the opportunity to offer it as an amendment on the Senate floor.

Feinstein introduced legislation last Thursday to ban military-style assault weapons like the one used by the gunman in last month's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and high-capacity ammunition clips.

"This has always been an uphill fight. This has never been easy. This is the hardest of the hard," Feinstein, a California Democrat, said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"Now, will it (gun violence legislation) only be assault weapons? No, most likely. There will be a package put together. If assault weapons is left out of the package ... I've been assured by the majority leader I'll be able to do it as an amendment on the (Senate) floor, which is the way I did it in 1993," Feinstein added.

Feinstein was referring to the previous U.S. assault weapon ban that she authored. That law expired in 2004 after 10 years in effect and Congress refused to extend it.

No major gun control legislation has made it through Congress in two decades in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and its gun rights allies.

Republicans generally oppose gun restrictions and many Democrats, particularly those representing rural areas, also support gun rights. Reid has been a long-time backer of gun rights.

Asked if she concedes that getting the Senate to pass a new assault weapons ban would be tough, Feinstein said, "I concede because the NRA is venal. They come after you. They put together large amounts of money to defeat you. They did this in '93 and they intend to continue it."

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer and executive vice president of the Virginia-based NRA, is among the witnesses scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on Wednesday on reducing gun violence.


Obama, in the magazine interview, said bridging a cultural divide in attitudes to gun ownership will be critical to his administration's push to curb gun violence.

"If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that," Obama said.

Obama wants the ban on military-style assault weapons, a proposal that faces a tough battle in Congress, as well as mandatory background checks for all gun buyers, a step viewed as having a better chance of success.

The United States has a long-standing gun culture and the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms.

Vice President Joe Biden on Friday took the administration's case for gun control to the gun-friendly state of Virginia, part of a White House strategy to urge the public to pressure Congress into passing laws aimed at curbing firearms violence.

Feinstein's legislation would prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 military-style assault weapons. It would ban an additional group of assault weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have one or more military characteristics.

It also would ban large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds and shooters to fire numerous rounds in rapid succession without reloading.

(Reporting by Will Dunham and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (34)
divinargant wrote:
Then what? Okay, so let’s say assault weapons are banned. That certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t exist anymore. And what happens the next time there’s another tragedy like Sandy,forbid that comes to be, yet a different type of weapon is used and innocents are slain in mass? Do those weapons get banned as well? This is so indicative of what we have become…reactive and not proactive and when the reaction comes it tends to be over reactive and doesn’t get to the heart of the problem particularly with issues of this nature but not limited to. Guns/weapons don’t kill people..mentally ill people kill people.

Jan 27, 2013 1:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Rural and semi-rural people also use guns for protection, not just hunting. If one lives 10 or more miles from a police station, he can’t rely on the cops if something malicious goes down.

For that matter, suburban and urban people often can’t rely on the police for protection either, in many scenarios. The Supreme Court has ruled that, “police are under no obligation to protect individuals, but rather to protect the community at large.”

And it should be remembered that the “Assault” Weapons Ban was in effect in 1999, when the Columbine murders took place, and those perpetrators had an AR-15 anyway.

Just a few nights ago, the British-liberal, CNN’s own Piers Morgan, pointed out that over 3 Million Americans own AR-15 or similar type, semi-automatic, large capacity-clip rifles. Over Three Million!

And how many of these mass murders of the last 30 years have involved those Three+ Million “Assault” weapons? Four? Maybe five? 500 people were murdered with handguns in Chicago last year, a city with some of the strongest municipal gun laws in the country.

Furthermore, mass-gun violence peaked in the US in the late 1920′s, so if society is going to blame it on something, don’t blame it on video games or movies, try blaming it on Prohibition.

I’m not a member of the NRA, but I think they’re a worthy organization, and are fighting for the Constitutional rights of all law-abiding citizens.

And remember, my fellow outspoken and opinionated Americans, the Second Amendment ultimately guarantees the First Amendment of Free Speech and Assembly, and of the Press.

Incidentally, has anyone out there ever had an inadvertent encounter with any SWAT teams out there? Like, say at a food festival or other event with a lot of people? I have, twice, and they treat all citizens as if we’re all terrorists. And guess what, they carry AR-15′s and other type weapons.

Jan 27, 2013 1:48pm EST  --  Report as abuse
elpaso wrote:
Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.

Jan 27, 2013 2:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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