Legislation To Reinstate Assault Weapons Ban Introduced In Congress
A little more than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a major expansion of the state's assault weapons ban, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to reinstate the federal ban she championed more than 20 years ago. But unlike Cuomo, she may have a tough time getting it through Congress. Washington D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
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With a wall of firearms as a backdrop, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation aimed at renewing the assault weapons ban she crafted in 1994.
"We should be outraged by how easy it is for perpetrators of these horrific crimes to obtain powerful military-style weapons," Feinstein said.
The new bill would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that accept more than 10 rounds. It specifically singles out 157 military-style weapons and would narrow the definition to determine what constitutes an assault weapon.
Unlike the 1994 ban, which expired in 2004, this one would be permanent.
"No weapon is taken from anyone," Feinstein said. "The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time. Therefore, there is no sunset on this bill."
The proposal is the most controversial of the measures unveiled by President Barack Obama to combat gun violence, and faces an uphill battle not only in the Republican-controlled House, but in the Senate, where rural Democrats fear a backlash from their constituents.
Already, the National Rifle Association is out with a statement.
"Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades," the statement reads, in part. "The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein's wrong-headed approach."
It's a sentiment echoed by many Congressional Republicans.
"I think it's wrong to give people false hope that you're going to address this problem with knee-jerk reaction," said North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger. "It's nonsense."
Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is spearheading the legislation in the House and insists her colleagues should not fear the gun lobby.
"You are going to hear from some on the opposite side of many of us that it can't be done," McCarthy said. "I'm telling you it can be done."
But she said it can only be done if the public goes to Congress and demands action.