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Democratic Senator Vows to Reinstate Assault Weapons Ban


"Who needs these military-style assault weapons?"

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks at an election night rally in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Credit: AP

The Newtown shooting in Connecticut has prompted an explosive, albeit predictable, reaction from supporters of gun control. With such anti-gun luminaries as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg loudly trumpeting the need for an assault weapons ban, it was just a matter of time before legislation was introduced to push the concept.

That is precisely what California Democrat Dianne Feinstein has just announced her intention to do, telling NBC's "Meet The Press" that the plans to introduce a new assault weapons ban in the new year, with Democrats in the House prepared to support her with their own version of the bill at the same time. The Huffington Post reports on Feinstein's stated intentions:

In the wake of Friday's mass killing at an elementary school in Connecticut, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sunday that she plans to introduce an assault weapons ban bill on the first day of the new Congress.

"I'm going to introduce in the Senate, and the same bill will be introduced in the House -- a bill to ban assault weapons," Feinstein said on NBC's "Meet the Press."[...]

Feinstein called for the ban to be renewed after the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 58 others.

"Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?" Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. "These weapons are not for hunting deer -- they’re for hunting people."

On Sunday Feinstein laid out details of the bill.

"It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively," and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. "The purpose of this bill is to get... weapons of war off the streets."

Feinstein apparently also believes that President Obama will be prepared to support her in pushing this bill through, as she has said that this will be the president's bill "to lead on."

Watch Feinstein's announcement below:

This is not the first time such a bill has been part of a Democratic president's agenda. President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994, in a politically risky move that many blame for costing his party the House of Representatives that year. That bill, however, expired in 2004, and attempts to revive it have been stymied. Whether Feinstein's bill will be an exception is an open question, though the Democratic Senator did claim that her version had improved on the original concept by exempting many popular weapons.

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