Feinstein Rolls Out Assault Weapons Ban as Biden Stumbles Over Its Purpose
Her bill would prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices that can accept more than 10 rounds. The prohibition would extend to 158 specifically named firearms.
Unfortunately for Biden, the list includes 10 shotguns.
"Since the 1994 law expired, there has been an influx of new models of assault weapons. These models are more powerful, more lethal and more technologically advanced than the weapons were in 1993," Feinstein said. "Our bill also prohibits other semi-automatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic."
"The bill also prevents and prohibits specific loopholes such as the slide iron stock which can be added to an AR-15 which essentially makes it mimic automatic weapons and it's legal. Thumb hole stocks and bullet buttons, these are all modifications that make it easy for manufactures to evade the law."
Feinstein's legislation would also eliminate the 10-year sunset provision that led to its expiration the first time around, as the "purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time."
"It will not affect hunting or sporting firearms; instead, the bill protects hunters and sportsmen by protecting 2,200 specifically named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes. They are by make and model exempted from the legislation. When we did this bill in '93, there were 375, today there are 2,200," she said. "Finally, the bill subjects existing or grandfathered weapons to a background check in the event it -- the weapon is sold or transferred."
Feinstein was joined by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).
"This just isn't a matter of -- an issue of Constitution, it's an issue of conscience, an issue of conscience," Durbin said.
"Times have changed, so have the capabilities of those who would do us harm. So I applaud Senator Feinstein for drafting an updated, smart and more robust version of the Assault Weapons Ban, which she has outlined," Schumer said. "…We have anti-pornography laws, we have anti-libel laws, we have liable laws, all of those are limitations on the First Amendment that are reasonable. Well, the limitations supported in Senator Feinstein's bill are reasonable limitations. We know that there is no inalienable right to own and operate hundred round clips on AR-15 assault rifles."
"You know what, to get off 100 rounds that day in about a 10-minute period of time, Adam Lanza had to reload twice. Two times he had to reload. Things would've been different if that was 9 or 10 or 11," Murphy claimed of the Newtown tragedy.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said in an off-camera press gaggle today that he wouldn't lay out a legislative strategy, but "we're obviously working with Senator Feinstein and other leaders in Congress on this matter."
"Not a single one of the president's proposals that he put forward last week would take a gun away from a single, law-abiding American citizen," Carney added.
Tomorrow Biden heads to Richmond, Va., for a "roundtable discussion" at Virginia Commonwealth University including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
"The roundtable discussion will include experts who have worked on gun safety issues in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting," the White House said.
Forty-three House Republicans hand-delivered a letter to Obama today declaring that new gun control measures would be met with resistance.
“The gun control proposals the president offered last week are a constitutional non-starter, and in fact, would have had zero impact in preventing the tragedy in Newtown," said Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), who led the effort.
"As members of Congress we have, like you, sworn to defend the Constitution of the United States. The seriousness of this public oath compels us to pursue the noble cause of defending individual liberty," the lawmakers wrote Obama.
"We will not support, and in fact we will strongly oppose, any legislation or executive order that prevents law-abiding Americans from responsibly exercising their Second Amendment rights, including any attempt to prevent ownership of certain firearms or ammunition. … We will not sit idly by while law-abiding citizens are stripped of their constitutional rights and turned into criminals by an overreaching federal government."