The National Rifle Institute for Legislative Action has issued a statement on the "Assault Weapons Ban" bill the Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) plans to introduce to the Senate on the first day it convenes on January 3, 2013. While the statement goes over several of the things I've covered here and here, it also points out some other things contained in the bill and even mocks her ridiculous hyperbole of adding "rocket launchers" to the bill. This caused the NRA to respond, "Perhaps a subsequent Feinstein bill will add “nuclear bomb,” “particle beam weapon,” or something else equally far-fetched to the features list."

The NRA-ILA's statement dealt with several of the changes in the Feinstein bill from the previous one she put forth in 1994, which President Bill Clinton signed into law. Here's what they said,

  • 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.

But this wasn't all. The NRA-ILA points out that Feinstein has expanded the definition of "assault weapon to include the following:

  • 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.

Additionally reference was made to a federal registration of firearms under the National Firearms Act which would impose a $200 tax per weapon on the owner, making identification of the owner mandatory by photograph ID and fingerprinting (something I'm sure Sen. Feinstein would oppose of voters) and to provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) with the location of the firearms and gain their permission to transport them across state lines in clear violation of the Second Amendment. By the way, I'm referring to that part about "(the right to) keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." See what's happening? They consider the Second Amendment a privilege, not a right or a duty of the citizen.

The response also points out the following:

  • 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.”

You are encouraged to contact your representatives and make your voice heard loud and clear in opposition to this bill. You can contact your representatives at 202-224-3121 or via the NRA's "Write Your Representative" tool on its website.

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