[Rushtalk] Feinstein Goes For Broke With New Gun-Ban Bill

Carl Spitzer Winblows at lavabit.com
Sat Feb 2 09:10:20 MST 2013


Feinstein Goes For Broke With New Gun-Ban Bill

December 27, 2012

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—author of the federal “assault weapon”
and “large” ammunition magazine ban of 1994-2004—has announced that on
the first day of the new Congress—January 3rd— she will introduce a bill
to which her 1994 ban will pale by comparison. On Dec. 17th,
Feinstein said, “I have been working with my staff for over a year on
this legislation” and “It will be carefully focused.” Indicating the
depth of her research on the issue, she said on Dec. 21st that she had
personally looked at pictures of guns in 1993, and again in 2012.

According to a Dec. 27th posting on Sen. Feinstein’s website and a draft
of the bill obtained by NRA-ILA, the new ban would, among other things,
adopt new definitions of “assault weapon” that would affect a much
larger variety of firearms, require current owners of such firearms to
register them with the federal government under the National Firearms
Act, and require forfeiture of the firearms upon the deaths of their
current owners. Some of the changes in Feinstein’s new bill are as

      * Reduces, from two to one, the number of permitted external
        features on various firearms.  The 1994 ban permitted various
        firearms to be manufactured only if they were assembled with no
        more than one feature listed in the law. Feinstein’s new bill
        would prohibit the manufacture of the same firearms with even
        one of the features.
      * Adopts new lists of prohibited external features. For example,
        whereas the 1994 ban applied to a rifle or shotgun the “pistol
        grip” of which “protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of
        the weapon,” the new bill would drastically expand the
        definition to include any “grip . . . or any other
        characteristic that can function as a grip.” Also, the new bill
        adds “forward grip” to the list of prohibiting features for
        rifles, defining it as “a grip located forward of the trigger
        that functions as a pistol grip.” Read literally and in
        conjunction with the reduction from two features to one, the new
        language would apply to every detachable-magazine semi-automatic
        rifle. At a minimum, it would, for example, ban all models of
        the AR-15, even those developed for compliance with California’s
        highly restrictive ban.
      *  Carries hyperbole further than the 1994 ban. Feinstein’s 1994
        ban listed “grenade launcher” as one of the prohibiting features
        for rifles. Her 2013 bill carries goes even further into the
        ridiculous, by also listing “rocket launcher.” Such devices are
        restricted under the National Firearms Act and, obviously, are
        not standard components of the firearms Feinstein wants to ban.
        Perhaps a subsequent Feinstein bill will add “nuclear bomb,”
        “particle beam weapon,” or something else equally far-fetched to
        the features list. 
      * Expands the definition of “assault weapon” by including:
              * Three very popular rifles: The M1 Carbine (introduced in
                1944 and for many years sold by the federal government
                to individuals involved in marksmanship competition), a
                model of the Ruger Mini-14, and most or all models of
                the SKS.
              * Any “semiautomatic, centerfire, or rimfire rifle that
                has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more
                than 10 rounds,” except for tubular-magazine .22s.
              * Any “semiautomatic, centerfire, or rimfire rifle that
                has an overall length of less than 30 inches,” any
                “semiautomatic handgun with a fixed magazine that has
                the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds,” and any
                semi-automatic handgun that has a threaded barrel.
      * Requires owners of existing “assault weapons” to register them
        with the federal government under the National Firearms Act
        (NFA). The NFA imposes a $200 tax per firearm, and requires an
        owner to submit photographs and fingerprints to the Bureau of
        Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), to inform the
        BATFE of the address where the firearm will be kept, and to
        obtain the BATFE’s permission to transport the firearm across
        state lines.
      * Prohibits the transfer of “assault weapons.” Owners of other
        firearms, including those covered by the NFA, are permitted to
        sell them or pass them to heirs. However, under Feinstein’s new
        bill, “assault weapons” would remain with their current owners
        until their deaths, at which point they would be forfeited to
        the government.
      * Prohibits the domestic manufacture and the importation of
        magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The 1994
        ban allowed the importation of such magazines that were
        manufactured before the ban took effect. Whereas the 1994 ban
        protected gun owners from errant prosecution by making the
        government prove when a magazine was made, the new ban includes
        no such protection. The new ban also requires firearm dealers to
        certify the date of manufacture of any >10-round magazine sold,
        a virtually impossible task, given that virtually no magazines
        are stamped with their date of manufacture.
      * Targets handguns in defiance of the Supreme Court. The Court
        ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second
        Amendment protects the right to have handguns for self-defense,
        in large part on the basis of the fact handguns are the type of
        firearm “overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that
        lawful purpose.” Semi-automatic pistols, which are the most
        popular handguns today, are designed to use detachable
        magazines, and the magazines “overwhelmingly chosen” by
        Americans for self-defense are those that hold more than 10
        rounds. Additionally, Feinstein’s list of nearly 1,000 firearms
        exempted by name (see next paragraph) contains not a single
        handgun. Sen. Feinstein advocated banning handguns before being
        elected to the Senate, though she carried a handgun for her own
        personal protection.
      * Contains a larger piece of window dressing than the 1994
        ban. Whereas the 1994 ban included a list of approximately 600
        rifles and shotguns exempted from the ban by name, the new
        bill’s list is increased to nearly 1,000 rifles and shotguns.
        Other than for the 11 detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles
        and one other semi-automatic rifle included in the list,
        however, the list appears to be pointless, because a separate
        provision of the bill exempts “any firearm that is manually
        operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.”

The Department of Justice study. On her website, Feinstein claims that a
study for the DOJ found that the 1994 ban resulted in a 6.7 percent
decrease in murders. To the contrary, this is what the study said: “At
best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total
gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never
involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders. Our best
estimate is that the ban contributed to a 6.7 percent decrease in total
gun murders between 1994 and 1995. . . . However, with only one year of
post-ban data, we cannot rule out the possibility that this decrease
reflects chance year-to-year variation rather than a true effect of the
ban.  Nor can we rule out effects of other features of the 1994 Crime
Act or a host of state and local initiatives that took place

“Assault weapon” numbers and murder trends. From the imposition of
Feinstein's “assault weapon” ban (Sept. 13, 1994) through the present,
the number of “assault weapons” has risen dramatically. For example, the
most common firearm that Feinstein considers an “assault weapon” is the
AR-15 rifle, the manufacturing numbers of which can be gleaned from the
BATFE’s firearm manufacturer reports, availablehere. From 1995 through
2011, the number of AR-15s—all models of which Feinstein’s new bill
defines as “assault weapons”—rose by over 2.5 million. During the same
period, the nation's murder rate fell 48 percent, to a 48-year low.
According to the FBI, 8.5 times as many people are murdered with knives,
blunt objects and bare hands, as with rifles of any type.

Traces: Feinstein makes several claims, premised on firearm traces,
hoping to convince people that her 1994 ban reduced the (relatively
infrequent) use of “assault weapons” in crime. However, traces do not
indicate how often any type of gun is used in crime. As the
Congressional Research Service and the BATFE have explained, not all
firearms that are traced have been used in crime, and not all firearms
used in crime are traced. Whether a trace occurs depends on whether a
law enforcement agency requests that a trace be conducted. Given that
existing “assault weapons” were exempted from the 1994 ban and new
“assault weapons” continued to be made while the ban was in effect, any
reduction in the percentage of traces accounted for by “assault weapons”
during the ban, would be attributable to law enforcement agencies losing
interest in tracing the firearms, or law enforcement agencies increasing
their requests for traces on other types of firearms, as urged by the
BATFE for more than a decade. 

Call Your U.S. Senators and Representative: As noted, Feinstein intends
to introduce her bill on January 3rd. President Obama has said that gun
control will be a “central issue” of his final term in office, and he
has vowed to move quickly on it. 

Contact your members of Congress at 202-224-3121 to urge them to oppose
Sen. Feinstein’s 2013 gun and magazine ban. Our elected representatives
in Congress must hear from you if we are going to defeat this gun ban
proposal. You can write your Representatives and Senators by using our
Write Your Representatives tool
here: http://www.nraila.org/get-involved-locally/grassroots/write-your-reps.aspx 

Millions of Americans own so-called “assault weapons” and tens of
millions own “large” magazines, for self-defense, target shooting,
and hunting. For more information about thehistory of the “assault
weapon” issue, please visit www.GunBanFacts.com
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