Dianne Feinstein Assault Weapons Bill is the Only Sane Option Post-Sandy Hook


In the wake of the incomprehensible tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there has been a chorus of voices that are calling for the adoption of stricter gun control. Despite repeated shootings that have resulted in numerous deaths, policymakers in Washington have not taken any decisive action. Following the massacre of twenty elementary school students in Newtown, Connecticut, many public officials have voiced support for stronger gun control measures. Since the country is awash with guns, tougher gun regulation might still fail to substantially curb gun violence. But the bill proposed Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), along with proposals under consideration by the Obama administration, could prove effective at curtailing the rampant gun violence.

In September 1994, Congress passed a law that banned many types of assault of weapons. The bill barred the production of 18 varieties of semiautomatic weapons, and it also prevented the production of “high-capacity magazine that could carry more than 10 rounds.” In 2004, the Republican-controlled Congress decided not to renew the assault ban weapon.

The new bill that Feinstein, who was also behind the original measure, plans to introduce in the new Congress will be similar to the 1994 bill. Feinstein’s bill will prohibit the “sale, transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” of assault weapons that hold more than 10 bullets. President Obama indicated that he will support the proposed legislation.

There are many other proposals that are under consideration by the White House that Feinstein’s bill would not address. According to the Washington Post, the administration is contemplating a set of proposals that would seek to tackle the gun issue in a more comprehensive manner. The proposals are as follows: require universal background checks for gun buyers; create a national database that would include information about gun sales; make it more difficult for those who suffer from a mental illness to acquire a gun by toughening the mental health background checks; and impose stiff penalties on those who provide guns to minors or possessing firearms close to a school.

The Second Amendment and the strong influence that the National Rifle Association exerts on lawmakers make it harder to put in place stronger gun regulations. Despite such constraints, those broad measures that the Obama administration is considering, coupled with Feinstein's bill, would make it less likely that guns would end up in the wrong hands. Hence, those proposals could help reduce gun violence that is still plaguing many communities across the country. Those measures, however, would not infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to acquire guns. Therefore, gun aficionados and gun control advocates alike could come together to support these “common-sense” measures.