California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, has said she would introduce legislation to place a ban on assault weapons when Congress meets in 2013. Her proposal would stop the sale, transfer, import, and manufacture of assault weapons, as well as ammunition magazines, clips, and drums holding more than 10 rounds.
“I am in the process of gathering support for the bill in the Senate and House,” she said in a statement on Monday.
The term ‘assault weapon’ is one with multiple meanings, and some states have their own definitions, but Feinstein said she has a specific list of guns in mind that would be banned.
There are some 100 firearms that Feinstein is looking to restrict, including semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and shotguns, without naming what they are. These weapons have a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.
“We must take these dangerous weapons of war off our streets,” she added.
But her office said the measure would protect the rights of hunters and private gun owners, by not including some 900 weapons that are used for hunting and sporting in the weapons ban. It would also exempt antique, manually operated, and completely disabled weapons.
Several other democratic lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, were looking to support the measure.
In 1994, Feinstein secured the passage of the first Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired 10 years later.
Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said that he would oppose Democrats’ attempts at gun control.
“Well, for the reason George Washington said: ‘A free people should be an armed people.’ It ensures against the tyranny of the government, if they know that the biggest army is the American people,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Once you start drawing the line, where do you stop? … Gun laws don’t work,” he said.
At the same time, President Barack Obama is aiming to strengthen the country’s guns laws following last week’s deadly school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 children.
“In the coming weeks, [Obama] would use the power of his office to engage the American people and lawmakers, law enforcement, mental health experts, educators, and others in an effort to try to prevent these kinds of terrible tragedies from happening in the future,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, according to a transcript.
Carney’s statements come after a chorus of Democrats, the media, and some Republicans advocated for stricter gun controls.
“It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution. No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem,” Carney said. “So I don’t have a specific agenda to announce to you today. I would simply point you to what the president said last night about moving forward in coming weeks; and I would look for him to do that.”
Obama met with members of his cabinet on Monday over the issue, but Carney did not elaborate and stressed that there was no specific timeline for what he would do.
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