Legislative overreach reveals the agenda
Senator Dianne Feinstein has released a summary (reprinted at bottom of post) of the legislation she intends to introduce in the Senate early in January.
It contains many provisions which have no chance of passing, and thereby dooms the legislation. Such sweeping legislation is a gift to opponents of any legislation because it calls into question the motives of Feinstein and others pushing what is the equivalent of Obamacare for gun control.
The bill promises to stop the 1) sale, 2) transfer, 3) importation and 4) manufacturing of military-style assault weapons, handguns, and shotguns as well as high-capacity ammunition feeding devices. It also allegedly calls for a ban on all weapons capable of holding a magazine with a greater than 10 round capacity (which includes many standard issue police handguns).
The bill, as it stands, is an exemplary demonstration of what political suicide looks like.
In one sweeping stroke, Feinstein intends to instigate the pro-gun lobby, alienate the majority of Americans who oppose re-instating a federal assault weapons ban, and run head long into a constitutional battle, all without even the faintest hope of bill passage.
While the bill sounds great on paper if you’re playing to a politically progressive base, it will do little if anything to actually address gun violence in this country….
Efforts to address issues of gun violence have to focus on pragmatic, bi-partisan solutions rather than politically divisive and practically ineffective legislation.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker laid out a fantastic case for immediately effective reforms that do nothing to ban or restrict the legal sale of firearms. His calls for pragmatism fell on largely deaf ears.
There is no reason that federal background checks should not be universally required for the purchase of firearms. There is no defensible justification for why 75% of states are able to ignore mental health checks for firearms purchasers. Not requiring individuals to report lost or stolen firearms hampers legitimate enforcement efforts by making it more difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal guns and should have been addressed years ago.
All of these issues can be addressed quickly and effectively without requiring wholesale prohibition of whole categories of firearms. Reforming and enforcing the laws already on the books receives popular support and ensures that gun control can be made more effective without attacking the rights of legal gun owners.
Ah, but that’s the catch. By proposing such sweeping legislation Feinstein shows that she is more interested in attacking the rights of legal gun owners than in stopping criminals. The agenda is revealed in the overreach.
Summary of 2013 legislation
- Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
- 120 specifically-named firearms;
- Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
- Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
- Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
- Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
- Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
- Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
- Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
- Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
- Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
- Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
- Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.
- Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
- Background check of owner and any transferee;
- Type and serial number of the firearm;
- Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
- Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
- Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.