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Feinstein pushes assault weapons ban

Posted: December 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced that she intends to introduce legislation implementing a nationwide ban on the purchase, transfer, manufacturing or importation of guns defined as assault weapons.

Guns barred under the law would include models that are compatible with a detachable magazine, which would allow an owner to expand the amount of ammunition a gun can hold, or handguns that have a clip that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

“We must take these dangerous weapons of war off our streets,” said Feinstein in a news release.

Feinstein authored the original assault weapons ban that was signed into law in 1994. That legislation later expired in 2004.

The proposed law, if passed, would allow owners to keep guns lawfully obtained before the day the law went into effect and would include exemptions for weapons primarily used for hunting and sporting purposes and guns that are considered antiques, are manually operated or are permanently disabled, according to Feinstein’s office.

Though the proposed legislation comes on the heel of last week’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 27 dead, Feinstein said she has worked on the bill for the past year.

President Barack Obama has already given his support to Feinstein’s planned bill.

The sale of some guns classified as assault weapons is already banned in California. The state’s definition of what constitutes an assault weapon includes similar language to Feinstein’s proposed legislation.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, said a thoughtful and all-encompassing response to the Newtown shooting is merited.

“The myriad of issues involved in manmade tragedies such as this are incredibly complex, and we owe it to ourselves, as a good and decent society, to examine every aspect of this violence epidemic, starting with a thorough dissection of our country’s mental health and family services, as well as our current gun laws and problematic issues with their enforcement,” McKeon said.

Alissa McCurley, a spokeswoman for McKeon, said McKeon currently has no direct response to Feinstein’s proposed legislation, since a bill has yet to be introduced.

“(McKeon) believes that something needs to be done to address the epidemic of gun violence, and that it needs to be done with steady consideration and not done in a knee-jerk manner,” McCurley said.



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