Assault weapons ban clears Judiciary Cmte, heads for death in the Senate
Update: As expected, the Feinstein bill did clear the Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning, on a 10-8 vote.
Update: Courtesy of the Weekly Standard, enjoy this “explosive exchange” between Senator Feinstein and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the subject of the Constitution, which Cruz clearly understands far better than Feinstein, and she’s not happy about it:
The latest round of hysterical gun-control foolishness moves one step closer to expiration, as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) “assault weapons” ban, which takes aim at scary-looking rifles and magazines holding more than 10 bullets, is expected to clear the Senate Judiciary Committee today, but die in the full Senate. Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill, and at least half a dozen nervous Democrats up for re-election in red states are likely to vote against it as well. Even if it slipped through the Senate by some happenstance, the Feinstein bill would never make it through the House.
Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been glum about the prospects for Feinstein’s effort, causing a stir at the end of January by refusing to endorse it and suggesting that other senators would be “well advised to read the legislation before they determine how they’re going to vote,” although he said he “admired” Feinstein for introducing the legislation. A few days later, Reid admitted that he personally had not bothered to read the bill.
Feinstein in turn growled about Reid’s comments, “Clearly it wasn’t helpful. He has a right to say it. That doesn’t mean he’s always right.” Reid later changed his tune and said he would bring the bill to the floor for a full vote, but expressed doubts that it would pass the full Senate.
Also not helpful: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who “said she believes it would be almost impossible to pass an assault-weapons ban” in an interview with the Denver Post on Monday. ”Where we can make the most difference is with background checks and information shared,” Pelosi added. ”Let’s keep guns out of the wrong hands. There’s more of a rally around background checks … and some unity around mental-health issues.” The Post interpreted this to mean unity within the Democrat Party.
The Associated Press reports that Senator Feinstein is now pleading for help from President Obama, who has expressed support for such legislation:
“I’d like to see everybody doing more,” bill sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Wednesday when asked if she’d like more assistance from Obama. “Yes, absolutely, we need help. We have the 800-pound gorilla out there” — a reference to the potent National Rifle Association.
Obama made an assault weapons ban part of the gun curbs he proposed in January, a month after a shooter with an assault rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at a school in Newtown, Conn. Feinstein and others have argued that such firearms are used in a disproportionate number of mass shootings and shouldn’t be available to civilians.
There are lots of other things Democrats think “shouldn’t be available to civilians,” plus some things they want to force civilians to buy, but in this case that pesky Second Amendment and the self-respect of law-abiding voters stands in the way. Feinstein’s bill is a perfect example of legislation designed for failure; the next mass shooter can easily obtain a weapon lacking the cosmetic features targeted by the bill, at which point the gun-control fanatics will begin howling for even more onerous burdens upon lawful citizens.
It’s debatable whether President Obama, currently in a defensive crouch after the spectacular backfire of his Sequestration Terror theatrics, will be much help. He might not want to throw more of his depleted political capital behind a doomed bill that will energize his critics, and possibly cost Democrats the Senate in 2014. He’s better off using that heavily-funded permanent campaign apparatus to bleat about the homicidal meanies who shot down the Feinstein bill.
You’ve got to love the constant state of paranoia Democrats engineer. The poor little dears! They’re in control of the largest, most heavily indebted government in the history of the world, a government which has claimed vast new powers to control the lives of its citizens, but their still poor little underdogs against the “800 pound gorilla” of the NRA.
Said gorilla has been watching the progress of Feinstein’s bill closely, and having some fun with her over-the-top antics. When the Judiciary Committee took up the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, the National Rifle Association reported:
The controversial bill has already been met with much resistance. During debate on the bill, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) pointed out that “Congress and President Clinton tried a so-called assault weapons ban 19 years ago and we have the benefit of hindsight as well as some research to examine the lackluster results of that decade-long experiment. According to the Department of Justice’s own study it was completely ineffectual in reducing murder or violent crime rates.”
Cornyn continued, “So, are we really going to pass another law that will have zero effect, and pat ourselves on the back and say ‘We’ve accomplished something wonderful?’ Well, we tried this experiment once and it failed, and I think it promotes symbolism over seriousness to repeat that mistake.”
Sen. Cornyn also offered an amendment to exempt all U.S. military personnel and veterans from Feinstein’s proposed ban, but the measure was rejected by a 9-9 party-line vote. During this portion of debate, Feinstein argued that a military veteran could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (which she bizarrely claimed was a “new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq war”), and suggested that they should therefore be prevented from buying or “having a weapon like this.”
Feinstein, herself, was quoted as saying, “I’ve been very concerned because the calls have been coming in as if this is some kind of wild eyed scheme.” We couldn’t agree more.
The NRA also had a good time picking through the initial version of Feinstein’s bill, noting that it would impose special taxes on gun owners and fingerprint them like criminals, target handguns in defiance of key Supreme Court rulings, and ban considerably more weapons than Feinstein was willing to let on, before getting to this little gem:
[The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013] 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 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.
MSNBC, while doing its level best to help the gun-control crowd with some biased editorializing slipped into ostensibly straight news reports, anticipated doom for the Feinstein bill:
Once the bill passes the committee on Thursday, it is likely Republicans will launch a filibuster of the measure. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has publicly pledged to ensure that “the Assault Weapons ban gets a vote on the floor, irrespective of whether it passe[s] judiciary or not.”
On Wednesday, Pelosi, along with Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Boxer, will march with a group of mothers from across the country to push for the adoption of common sense gun laws. Nancy Pelosi also stressed in the interview that stricter background checks and bans on high-capacity magazine clips “would go a long way to protect the American people.”
Love it! No quotes around “common sense gun laws,” no qualifier along the lines of “what they describe as ‘common sense’ gun laws,” just straight-up matter-of-fact bias. Meanwhile, the rest of us can only hope this absurd bill is put to bed quickly, so we can resume our long effort to get some actual common sense out of Congress. How about a ban on showboating “assault bills” that target law-abiding citizens because they’re easy to push around?