U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today joined a broad coalition representing Congress, law enforcement, doctors, clergy and gun violence victims to announce the introduction of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. The bill bans dangerous military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
The following joined the Senate bill as cosponsors: Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
"The bill introduced today is the product of more than a year of work, with input from across the country," Feinstein said. "Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that--but it's a battle worth waging. We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style assaults weapons with the growing threat to lives across America. If 20 dead children in Newtown wasn't a wakeup call that these weapons of war don't belong on our streets, I don't know what is."
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 has two principal goals:
First, the bill prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons. It also bans an additional group of assault weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have one or more military characteristics.
Second, the bill bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These devices allow shooters to fire numerous rounds in rapid succession without having to stop and reload.
The legislation also protects the rights of law-abiding citizens who use guns for hunting, household defense or legitimate recreational purposes. The Assault Weapons Ban includes a grandfather clause that specifically exempts all assault weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment from the ban. The legislation also excludes:
More than 2,200 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles by specific make and model;
Any gun manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and
Weapons used by military, law enforcement and retired law enforcement.
Other key provisions in the bill:
Requires background checks on all future transfers of assault weapons covered by the legislation, including sale, trade and gift;
Requires that grandfathered assault weapons be stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from prohibited persons; and
Prohibits the sale or transfer of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices currently in existence.
"I believe this bill is a big step toward ending the mass shootings that have devastated families across the country--from Newtown to Aurora, from Tucson to Virginia Tech, from Columbine to Oak Creek," Feinstein said. "It's time for Americans to stand up and tell the gun manufacturers that the lives of our children are more important than their profits and get these dangerous weapons out of our schools, our workplaces, our malls and our theaters. It's time to take action, and we'll get it done, not matter how long it takes."
Senator Feinstein was joined at the press conference by Senators Durbin, Schumer, Blumenthal and Murphy; Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.); Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors); Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (also president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association); and a wide range of groups that have endorsed the bill.
The full text of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 as well as additional background information is available on Senator Feinstein's website at feinstein.senate.gov/assaultweapons.