By Greg Campbell
Senator Dianne Feinstein recently released the details of her sweeping “assault weapons” ban that seeks to ban the sale of weapons arbitrarily deemed an “assault weapon.” Much to the dismay of gun rights advocates, the new plan by Feinstein will not only greatly augment the previous provisions for a gun ban, but will also target common handguns.
After weeks of posturing by Feinstein and other leading Democrats, claiming that they will focus on implementing a gun ban for “assault weapons” like the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles, it seems the true intention of the new ban will be to suppress the ownership of many handguns and shotguns that firearms owners use for sporting, recreation or home defense.
The outline for the new 2013 plan posted on Feinstein’s website detailed,
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 military characteristic
-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
-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
The plan serves as a broad, sweeping overhaul of previous gun bans and highly regulates gun ownership for many of the most common guns on the market today. While the plan is just a summary of the yet-to-be proposed legislation, the ambiguity of terms is likely to give legislators pause as “military characteristic” and even the term “assault weapon” are considered loaded terms with no clear definition.
The true purpose of this legislation may be to (pardon the pun) aim high and expect resistance to whittle down the legislation to something more closely resembling the expired “assault weapons ban.”
However, it is possible that this recent plan is mission creep and serves as the incremental gun grab Second Amendment advocates have often warned against. While the initial plan was to target so-called “military-style” rifles, now with the inclusion of common handgun characteristics, America may see a gradual banning of firearms strengthened each time a high-profile crime occurs with a gun.