U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., feeling the wind at her back, took one more stab at fulfilling a desire she’d expressed 18 years ago for an outright firearm ban when, as expected, she introduced a draconian assault weapons ban, magazine restriction and federal arms registry Thursday.
“If I could’ve gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them — Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em all in — I would’ve done it. I could not do that, the votes weren’t here,” she told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” in 1995.
Her bill won’t accomplish the immediate confiscation or government buy-back she longed for back then, but she believes it will eventually accomplish the same thing.
“No weapon is taken from anyone,” Feinstein told reportersThursday, according to the Examiner. “The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time.”
The new bill would prohibit the “sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of 157 dangerous military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of holding more than 10 rounds,” according to a press release from Feinstein’s office, which said the bill has 16 co-sponsors, all Democrats.
Although the bill, as detailed in the release, “specifically exempts all assault weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment from the ban,” those weapons would eventually be considered illegal. They can’t be sold or transferred to one’s heirs after death — thereby eventually drying up the supply of legal weapons, just as Feinstein intends. This applies not only to the weapons themselves but also to what she refers to as high-capacity magazines.
The bill also applies to handguns, shotguns and rifles that have at least one “military feature.” The vast majority of military features she lists are purely cosmetic and have nothing to do with making the weapon more dangerous.
The National Rifle Association responded to Feinstein’s announcement with its own press release:
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 or fixing our broken mental health system. The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he may allow the firearm ban bill to go forward, according to the Huffington Post.
The video of Feinstein’s announcement to the press follows.
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