The New Year is just around the corner and although the Senate still hasn't made a fiscal cliff deal, Senator Diane Feinstein already has parts of new gun control legislation ready to go. Two Sunday's ago on NBC's Meet the Press, Feinstein talked about giving President Obama a bill he can "lead on" and used the term assault weapon loosely.
Feinstein has posted a summary of what the legislation will cover, which inculdes a ban on semi-automatic handguns and shotguns in addition to rifles. The legislation also requires registration of previously purchased guns. If passed, ATF would be in charge of enforcement which should be a huge concern to gun owners.
Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
120 specifically-named firearms;
-Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
-Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
-Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
-Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
-Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
-Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
-Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
-Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
-Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
-Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons
Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
-Background check of owner and any transferee;
-Type and serial number of the firearm;
-Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
-Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
-Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.
The key here is that Feinstein made sure to throw a clause in about "protecting legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners," yet wants them treated as if they are guilty by requiring massive gun registration and fingerprinting for firearms that have been lawfully purchased. The legislation covers a ton of ground. Nearly every semi-automatic handgun in the United States has a detachable magazine. It is important to keep in mind the term "assault weapon" is a made up political term that doesn't belong to any specific weapon. The term is typically used in reference to semi-automatic rifles however, any weapon can be used to assault someone, which is why Feinstein has been able to throw handguns and shotguns into her new assault weapons ban.
On another note, who decides what a "legitimate hunter" is? This could become a dangerous gray area considering many people do not hunt every year but only on occasion. What will the qualifications be in order to be considered a legitimate hunter? The hunting argument is often used by pro-gun control advocates as their way of "coming to the middle" on the issue, but in reality the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting.
Feinstein's legislation will be introduced in January at the beginning of the New Congress. The wolves are at the door.