Feinstein Assault Weapons Ban is Bad For America

As has been reported on PolicyMic and other outlets over the past week, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) intends to introduce a new ban on assault weapons in the 113th Congress. While countless authors have decried the bill for its ill-preparation and dubious impacts as well as its limitations on the right for law-abiding citizens to bear arms, these critiques overlook the most important problem with the Feinstein gun bill — its divisiveness.

In the same political atmosphere that almost threw the national government over a fiscal cliff, Feinstein would like to bring the right to bear arms up for question within Congress. Anything that smells like a curtailing of our Bill of Rights, especially the NRA’s darling, will never end with an easy passing into law, but with a long, bitter and incomplete demise. Yes, it also comes at a time when 26 people, many young children, were shot by a gunman, only months after similar situations occurred in Colorado in 2012 and several other states in the last 10n years, but these unfortunate occurrences won’t save the bill. What all this amounts to is a volatile situation that will only breed rancor and stubbornness within Congress but indeed within the whole nation.

It is no secret that during President Obama’s administration, Congress has been beleaguered by partisan politics that consumed the ability for any real improvements to legislation to be made. Feinstein would simply be adding fuel to a fire that is only just attempting to smolder in the wake of an uneasy compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff. While it is admirable to seeks ways to prevent gun violence, as is reportedly Feinstein’s impulse, the recent spate of shootings over the last decade have more often been a combination of non-assault weapons, grievances and mental health issues. Her critics will (and have) trot out these and many other facts to poke holes in her bill with a reasonableness that will appeal to a great many American citizens. 

Feinstein will have her followers as well, many probably being the aggrieved families that have lost those dearest to them by gun violence. If she is so lucky, Feinstein may get a red-eyed, passionate grieving mother to support her bill in front of the press’ cameras, but again, this will not likely save the bill or the country.

Politics over the last two or three presidential terms have been divisive, so much so that protests and counter-protests have formed new parties, new politics and new ideas that are driving American citizens to further extremes in an effort to prove the other more wrong. Having similar battles occur over the ground of gun control at a time when the country would be better suited to figuring out its spending habits would not only dishonor the memory of those recently lost to gun violence, but turn into profiteering over their graves. 

America needs more than politicians exclaiming over partisan issues and profiting off of our tragedies and fears. We need and deserve a Congress that will work together to tackle our budget issues and work to improve our nation that has stood together 237 years despite differences in opinion. 

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Katie Gresham

A graduate of American University's International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, Katie currently lives in London where she works with well-known international development NGOs. She has a keen interest in international affairs skewed towards development and conflicts issues. She has augmented her academic studies with trips to Northern Ireland, Kenya, Cyprus and the Balkans.

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