Transcript: Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduces assault weapons ban

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduces the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 at a press conference on Jan. 24, 2013. SOURCE: Feinstein.Senate.gov via Facebook

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introducing the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 at a press conference on Jan. 24, 2013:

…I’m also incensed that our weak gun laws allow these mass killings to be carried out again and again and again in our country.

Weapons designed to originally for the military to kill large numbers of people in close combat are replicated for civilian use. They fall into the hands – one way or another – of grievance killers, of gangs, of those who are mentally unstable or ill.

They are sold out of trunks and backseats of automobiles in cities as well as gun shows with no questions asked.

Massacres have taken place in businesses, law practices, malls, movie theaters and especially schools.

These massacres don’t seem to stop. They continue on: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Oak Creek. The common thread in these shootings is each gunman used a semi-automatic assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine.

Military-style assault weapons have but one purpose – and in my view that’s a military purpose – to hold at the hip if possible to spray fire to be able to kill large numbers.

Since the last assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and incidentally in the 10 years it was in place no one took it to court. More than 350 people have been killed with assault weapons. More than 450 have been injured.

We should be outraged by how easy it is for perpetrators of these horrific crimes to obtain powerful military-style weapons.

Today, my colleagues and I are introducing a bill to prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices that can accept more than 10 rounds.

Let me briefly describe the legislation we’re introducing.

We prohibit 158 specifically named military-style firearms. Since the 1994 law expired, there has been an influx of new models of assault weapons. These models are more powerful, more lethal, and more technologically advanced than the weapons were in 1993.

Our bill also prohibits other semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic. One criticism of the 1994 law was that it was a too characteristic test to define it and that was too easy to work around. Manufacturers could simply remove one of the characteristics and the firearm was legal. The bill we are introducing today – it will be – will make it much more difficult to work around by moving a one-characteristic test.

The bill also prevents and prohibits specific loopholes such as the slide-iron stock, which can be added to an AR-15 which essentially makes it mimic automatic weapons – and it’s legal. Thumbhole stocks and bullet buttons – these are all modifications that make it easy for manufacturers to evade the law.

The bill prohibits semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.

A ban on importation of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

Elimination of the 10-year sunset.

Let me tell you what the bill will not do. It will not affect hunting or sporting firearms. Instead, the bill protects hunters and sportsmen by protecting 2,200 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes. They are – by make and model – exempted from the legislation. When we did this bill in 1993, there were 375; today there are 2,200.

Finally, the bill subjects existing or grandfathered weapons to a background check in the event the weapon is sold or transferred.

So we have tried to learn from the bill. We have tried to recognize legal hunting rights. We have recognize legal defense rights. We have tried to recognize the right of a citizen to legally possess a weapon – no weapon is taken from anyone. The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time; therefore there is no sunset on this bill.

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