Surrounded by law enforcement officers, mayors, police chiefs, gun “safety” groups, Democratic legislators and a display of semi-automatic rifles and pistols, California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced her new gun control legislation today on Capitol Hill.
“This is a tough battle,” Feinstein said in her opening remarks. “Some of us have been working to reduce gun violence for decades.”
The event kicked off with Rev. Gary Hall preaching about gun violence to the cameras, a mix of church and state liberals typically frown upon unless it serves a certain political purpose.
"As people of faith we have an obligation to stand together to end gun violence,” Rev. Gary Hall said. “I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby.”
For weeks we’ve been given a preview of Feinstein’s new “assault weapons” legislation, which she outlined today. The bill includes a ban on guns with only “one military characteristic,” slide iron stocks, a ban on importation of assault weapons and large capacity magazines, a ban on certain semi-automatic “assault pistols” and shotguns. The exact definition of "military characteristic" is still unknown. The 10 year “sunset rule” has been stripped form the bill, meaning if passed, the firearms included in the legislation will be banned forever. Grandfathered firearms that are either sold or transferred will require a background check.
“No weapon is taken from anyone,” Feinstein said. "The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time.”
New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy expressed a similar sentiment saying, “ If they’re [assault weapons] not in the stores, they can’t be bought,” implying mass shooters won’t look on the black market to purchase weapons or steal them from legal owners (as Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, did).
Feinstein repeatedly slammed the gun lobby, invoked the tragedy in Newtown where it was convenient and gave Americans a misleading picture of how guns are bought and sold on a regular basis to law-abiding citizens.
“The common thread in these mass shootings is that in each a sami-autic, semi-automatic was used,” Feinstein said. “They are sold out of trunks and back seats of automobiles and at gun shows.”
No gun purchased at a gun show has ever been used in a mass shooting.
Feinstein also did her best to reassure hunters their rights wouldn’t be trampled on, failing to mention the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting in the first place.
“It will not effect hunting or sporting firearms, instead the bill will protect hunters and sportsman,” Feinstein said, adding that 2200 “hunting” guns are specifically exempted in the bill.
Meanwhile, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made it clear he doesn’t think it matters whether Feinstein’s legislation violates Second Amendment rights.
“This isn’t an issue of simply Constitution, it’s an issue of conscious,” Durbin said. "We need responsible hunters and sportsman to step up and join us."
Feinstein’s legislation will be placed into the record Thursday afternoon.
“We have done our best to craft a responsible bill to ban assault weapons,” Feinstein said. “This is really an uphill road.”
UPDATE: The NRA has issued a statement in response to Feinstein and her legislation:
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