In an interview Monday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) responded to criticism from National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre about her efforts to reinstate the assault weapons ban, which a majority of Americans support.
In a speech in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday, LaPierre said Feinstein’s assault weapons ban legislation was part of a “decades-old agenda” (the original assault weapons ban was allowed to expire in 2004 under the Bush administration, despite a majority of Americans, including gun owners, supporting renewal at the time) and that Feinstein was “waiting for an unspeakable act to occur so the American people could be persuaded to buy into her political agenda.”
Feinstein fired back at LaPierre, saying “let me correct him. What I said is that we have been working on this for a year. It’s a rather complicated piece of legislation, because it exempts 2,200 hunting, sporting weapons by make and model, and that took some work of staff and consultation with real gun experts to be sure that we could be correct on all counts. So it wasn’t a bill just quickly slapped together. It had some thoughtful consideration.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the assault weapons bill, which has 22 co-sponsors, this Wednesday. The legislation could get a committee vote as early as Thursday. In his State of the Union address, President Obama emphatically stated that each of his gun safety proposals, including the assault weapons ban, “deserves a vote.” Feinstein said the hearing will make it clear that the ban is both Constitutional and necessary to keep these weapons off the streets because “many of the parts of these weapons make them into weapons that are specifically designed to kill large numbers of people in close conflict.”
In justifying the legislation, Feinstein said “grievance killers look for these weapons. These weapons are easy to obtain. There are no background checks. You can buy them out of a back of a car, at a gun show. America’s laws are virtually nonexistent and, therefore, I think this is a good bill.”
Feinstein said she has broad support for the legislation, including from the White House, police organizations, mayors, medical experts, and religious organizations.
“I intend to fight” said Feinstein. “I did it once before. If it doesn’t get done right now, be assured I will continue to press the case.”