Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) formally introduced her revived semi-automatic firearms ban “on steroids” Thursday (Jan. 24), which proposes to ban the “sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing” of more than 100 specifically named firearms, including semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that accept detachable and fixed magazines of more than 10 rounds and have one or more “military characteristics.”
According to an analysis by WND.com on Jan. 23, while Feinstein claims her “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” will protect the rights of existing gun owners by exempting, or “grandfathering,” already legally owned firearms and “disabled” weapons, her bill “would demand that the owners be investigated, photographed and fingerprinted; the type and serial number of the weapon be registered and local law enforcement certify that it is legal.”
A Washington Examiner report notes that Feinstein’s bill would also impose a $200 tax every time a “grandfathered” or “exempt” firearm is registered or transferred, essentially taxing semiautomatic firearms owners “for weapons they already have purchased and on which they already have paid taxes.”
Feinstein introduced the bill in Washington, D.C., flanked by mayors, law enforcement officials, gun violence victims and Connecticut senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Rep. Elizabeth Esty, whose district includes Newtown, Conn., scene of the Dec. 14 school shootings that prompted a national gun control discussion.
Esty is expected to co-sponsor the House version of Feinstein’s bill that will be introduced there by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), a leading gun-control advocate.
Feinstein’s bill joins other gun-control measures introduced this week, including Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) proposal to require background checks for all firearms purchases, such as those conducted by private individuals and at gun shows, and a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) that would beef-up the federal law prohibiting straw purchases of guns, transactions in which someone buys a gun for someone else who is barred from getting one on their own.
While there appears to be broad support for tightening background checks and prohibiting straw purchases, Feinstein’s proposed semi-automatic firearms ban faces an uphill battle, according to Brian Montopoli of CBS News on Jan. 24.
“There is little reason to believe that the measure could pass the GOP-led House — and it may well not even be able to get through the Democrat-led Senate,” Montopoli wrote.
Democrats control 55 out 100 Senate votes. Ban supporters would need all of those votes, plus five GOP votes, to pass the bill.
“That’s a tall order: At least five Senate Democrats have declined to take a position on (gun-control legislation) and there is only one Republican in the Senate — Mark Kirk of Illinois — who supports an assault weapons ban,” Montopoli writes.
In fact, after initially saying he wouldn’t even allow a vote on the ban because it would not pass the GOP-led House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) indicated that he may allow a vote, Montopoli wrote, “though he made clear that he did not expect the measure to pass.”
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— Major gun legislation poised to roll out