Update: On Thursday, January 24, Feinstein introduced her assault weapons ban legislation to the Senate.
Early in January, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had published the summary of her new assault weapons ban that she is proposing in the new 113th Congress. She first mentioned her intention to introduce the bill in the first session of Congress a mere two days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you are not familiar with the details of this new piece of legislation, you can view the breakdown of it in an article posted earlier on PolicyMic.
In a recent statement Feinstein said of the new legislation:
"I have been working with my staff for over a year on this legislation. It will be carefully focused on the most dangerous guns that have killed so many people over the years while protecting the rights of gun owners by exempting hundreds of weapons that fall outside the bill’s scope. We must take these dangerous weapons of war off our streets."
Translating the political speak, this means she is looking to ban a majority of modern semiautomatic firearms that exist today. Where as the original bill only targeted nineteen 19 firearm models, this one names 120 as well as redefining what qualifies as an assault weapon (basically making it easier for any firearm to qualify as one).
Despite the studies that Feinstein uses as sources that show assault weapons only account for small percentage of gun crime, one might argue redefining assault weapons to include more firearms would assuredly drive that percentage upwards. And despite having a year to work on her legislation, Feinstein still manages to misquote and misrepresent her references as indicated in a previous article.
Adding to the ridiculousness of her proposal, according to recent drafts of the legislation obtained by the NRA-ILA, Feinstein has also included banning "rocket launchers" in addition to the grenade launchers that were a part of the previous ban. This should come as no surprise as Feinstein, who originally championed the passage of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban that failed miserably to reduce gun crime, has a history of trying to disarm law abiding citizens.
She has also proposed to form a national registry of all of these firearms that she wants to ban and their owners (numbering in the tens of millions), to be created and managed by the BATFE. This is the same BATFE that lost track of over 2,000 firearms they were gun-walking to the Mexican drug cartels during the Fast and Furious operation, which were connected in the death of a border patrol agent and countless Mexican citizens.
Every firearms registrant must undergo a background check and also submit a photo ID, fingerprints, and a sign off from local law enforcement. To do this, she is requesting that federal funds be appropriated from the balanced budget that Congress has yet to pass in order to set up this registry as well as conduct the tens of millions of background checks that will ensue.
Feinstein is proposing this new assault weapons ban despite the fact that a majority of Americans oppose passing such legislation, although they do favor tighter gun control laws in general. The Democrats threat of an assault weapons ban as well as Feinstein's announcement that she intends to reintroduce such a bill has mobilized gun rights advocates across the country. Second Amendment organizations, including the NRA, have even seen a massive influx of new membership.
It's worth noting that after the 1994 version of the legislation passed, Republicans took back both houses of Congress, dubbed the Republican Revolution, and Bill Clinton credited the pro gun movement for Al Gore's defeat in 2000. If history has taught us anything, one would be that banning anything will not solve our problems and may actually make matters worse. This was the case in prohibition and more recently the war on drugs. But perhaps the most important lesson to gun control advocates would be that instituting such a ban would not only accomplish little to curb gun violence, but it would also have long term political consequences.