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Feinstein And Friends Quietly Introduce a Major Gun Control Bill During the Shutdown

AP Photo/Ben Margot

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) on Wednesday introduced legislation to, once again, push another assault weapons ban, similar to legislation that passed back in 1994. 


Although the official bill text hasn't been released, here's what Feinstein's office says the bill would accomplish, if passed:

Key provisions:

  • Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.

Exemptions to bill:

  • The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.
  • The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Other provisions:

  • Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Updates to Assault Weapons Ban of 2017:

  • Bans stocks that are “otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of a firearm.”
  • Bans assault pistols that weigh 50 or more ounces when unloaded, a policy included in the original 1994 ban.
  • Bans assault pistol stabilizing braces that transform assault pistols into assault rifles by allowing the shooter to shoulder the weapon and fire more accurately.
  • Bans Thordsen-type grips and stocks that are designed to evade a ban on assault weapons.

Feinstein's office also refers to AR-15s as "assault style rifles" and cite last year's shootings in Parkland, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas as incidents in which these firearms were used.

The bill's co-sponsors include Chuck Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Patty Murray (WA.), Jack Reed (RI), Tom Carper (DE), Bob Menendez (NJ.), Ben Cardin (MD), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY.), Brian Schatz (HI), Mazie Hirono (HI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Ed Markey (MA), Cory Booker (NJ), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Kamala Harris (CA), Bob Casey (PA), Bernie Sanders (VT), Tina Smith (MN), Ron Wyden (OR.), Maggie Hassan (NH), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR) and Mark Warner (VA).

What’s interesting - and arguably intentional - is that practical none of Feinstein’s colleagues have said a word about co-sponsoring this piece of legislation, despite a hoard of them signing on. In fact, Sen. Menendez appears to be the only one, besides Feinstein, to even mention the proposed Assault Weapons Ban:


Pro-gun groups and activists weren't surprised by the move, especially considering Feinstein's past position. 

“Prohibiting law-abiding Americans from purchasing some of the most commonly rifles used self-defense firearms will do nothing to improve public safety," the National Rifle Association's media liaison, Amy hunter, told Townhall. "Gun control only makes it harder for citizens to protect and defend themselves. The NRA will do all it can protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.”

“We need to ban politicians that assault our constitutional rights not commonly owned firearms that are used for lawful self-defense," Second Amendment Foundation's founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb told Townhall.

According to Mark Oliva, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's public affairs manager, Feinstein's previous Assault Weapons Ban as a failure:

Senator Feinstein's 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban was demonstrated to have no impact on reducing crime. Since the ban's expiration, more than 16 million modern sporting rifles have been purchased into private ownership, making these commonly-owned rifles the most popular selling rifle on the market. Senator Feinstein intentionally misleads the American public by demonizing semiautomatic rifles based on cosmetic features that have no bearing on the function of a firearm. It is not surprising that she continues to repeated false claims about the lawful and legal ownership of firearms to pursue an agenda of denying Americans the firearm that best suits their individual needs.

Senator Feinstein has introduced similar legislation for several Congresses, only to see each attempt to restrict Americans' rights rejected by her Senate colleagues and rebuked by voters. Previous versions of this legislation were outrageous in their overreach, but she has found a way to surpass even those exceptions. We reject this naked gun grab and we are confident the American public will demand as much from their senators. 

Gun Owners of America's legislative counsel, Michael Hammond, believes the bill will fail:

Dianne Feinstein's new unconstitutional gun ban follows in the "Feinstein tradition" of blindly attacking guns for no particular rational purpose.

The 1994-2004 less-repressive predecessor to the Feinstein bill was found by the Department of Justice to have been totally ineffectual.  As a result, in 2013, only 39 other senators voted to support her semi-automatic ban -- in a Senate controlled by Democrats.  And, finally, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just declared, as unconstitutional, California's magazine ban, which is similar to the one contained in Feinstein's bill.

So Feinstein's insistence of "doubling down on failure" may make her -- and the loony Left -- feel good.  But no sane legislature is actually going to vote for her bill.

Firearms Policy Coalition president Brandon Combs says his group will continue to defend the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

Sen. Feinstein may not have much, if any, mental capacity left, but she surely knows that the Constitution protects the People and their property against her unconstitutional policy preferences. 

FPC maintains our strong opposition to Senator Feinstein's never-ending assault on the Constitution and the People. We will continue to work to defend the Constitution and individual liberty against all enemies, regardless of political party.


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