Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Gun Bill: Disingenuous Overreaction

The reaction to California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s introduction of her bill “The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” on Thursday was almost immediate. The director of public relations for the National Rifle Association (NRA), Andrew Arulanandam, stated:

Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades. It’s disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals….

The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach.

In her introduction of the bill on Thursday, Feinstein noted that she and her staff had been working on it for more than a year, waiting for the best time to offer it. The Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gave her that opportunity:

The bill introduced today is the product of more than a year of work, with input from across the country. Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth waging.

We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style assaults weapons with the growing threat to lives across America. If 20 dead children in Newtown wasn't a wake-up call that these weapons of war don’t belong on our streets, I don’t know what is.

She outlined the principal goals for her bill: It would prohibit “the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons.” In addition, her bill would ban “large-capacity magazines … that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”

In addition, any transfer such assault weapons would require a background check first, even for private face-to-face sales, and such weapons would be required to be “stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from ‘prohibited’ persons.”

Finally, anyone owning a now-banned high capacity magazine would be prohibited, under federal law, from selling it or giving it away to anyone else.

She said that her bill would reduce greatly the mass shootings that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado and elsewhere:

I believe this bill is a big step toward ending the mass shootings that have devastated families across the country — from Newtown to Aurora, from Tucson to Virginia Tech, from Columbine to Oak Creek.

And then she took a swing at the makers of such weapons:

It’s time for Americans to stand up and tell the gun manufacturers that the lives of our children are more important than their profits and get these dangerous weapons out of our schools, our workplaces, our malls and our theaters. It’s time to take action, and we’ll get it done, no matter how long it takes.

Cosponsors of her bill predictably included anti-gunners such as Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
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