Gun Control — February 14, 2013 at 7:12 am

Sign the Petition: Support the new Assault Weapons Ban


The Second Amendment wasn’t intended to include gun fetishists

One of the most disingenuous claims by the gun fetishists lobby is that assault weapons are protected by the Second Amendment. This, of course, is not true. The Second Amendment was never intended to allow for the unregulated promulgation of weaponry throughout our country and our communities. That is, in fact, the reason the phrase “well regulated militia” is part of it. What is, to me, the most galling are the laughable justifications they use to defend their bizarre obsession with owning and shooting weapons that so closely resemble those used by our military men and women.

But, we are a rational society and the time when a tiny minority of people who get a thrill out of owning and shooting military-style weapons get to make all of the decisions is coming to an end. They may call themselves “hobbyists”. They may say that their desire to pretend to be a soldier is protected by the constitution. But when the rest of us watch our fellow citizens, including small children, mowed down by weapons with high-capacity magazines, we know it’s time for the adults to start putting some limits down.

One of those limits is to replace the Assault Weapons Ban that expired 2004 with a new, strengthened version. Saying “enough is enough”, Senator Diane Feinstein introduced such legislation. Here she is at the press conference where she first introduced the bill to the public:

Please sign the Democracy for America petition, urging members of Congress to pass Senator Feinstein’s bill.

Here’s a powerful ad DFA put out this week about the ban:

Sen. Feinstein’s bill is actually an improvement on the one that expired in 2004.

The bill would ban the future sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of 157 specific kinds of semi-automatic guns and impose the same restrictions on ammunition magazines that contain more than 10 rounds. It would also ban rifles, handguns and shotguns that accept detachable magazines and have certain physical characteristics, including a pistol grip or folding stock.

Feinstein said the legislation would simplify the definition of an assault weapon by reducing the number of defining physical characteristics from two to one, making it more difficult for gun manufacturers to design firearms that get around the ban. Unlike the previous assault weapons ban, which Feinstein wrote and was in effect from 1994 to 2004, the new version does not have a sunset date and is intended to stay on the books permanently. {…}

[T]he bill addresses the millions of semi-automatic guns and large-capacity ammunition magazines that are already in private owners’ possession today. It would require background checks on all such firearms if they are sold or transferred— including from one private citizen to another — and it would ban the future sale of large-capacity magazines even if those magazines are currently in their owners’ hands legally. It would impose a “safe storage requirement” for firearms currently in existence, and it includes a voluntary gun-buyback program designed to encourage gun owners to turn over their firearms in exchange for money provided through a Justice Department grant program. {…}

Feinstein’s bill specifically allows 2,258 “legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns” as well as “any gun manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action,” according to background information provided by her office. Guns carried by government officials and law enforcement also would be exempt from the ban.

Passage of the bill is not assured, of course, and Sen. Feinstein admits that it’s “an uphill battle”. And it’s not just Republicans in the pocket of the overly-powerful National Gun Fetishists Club (NRA). There are Democrats who are not on board, as well, most from rural, more conservative communities. That’s why the petition is so important. As Vice President Joe Biden put it, “It’s not about keeping bad guns out of the hands of good people, it’s about keeping all guns out of the hands of bad people…Make your voices heard.”

Please join the tens of thousands of Americans who have already signed the petition. Do it today.

  • No. Thanks.

    I contacted my Congresspeople and sadly, I will no longer be voting for Senator Levin. I won’t vote for any Republican, but I also won’t vote for anyone who supports DiFi’s AWB.

    There are multiple issues with DiFi’s bill including the fact that basically ANY rifle that can take magazines and is semi-auto is included due to how she phrased ‘grip’ (as in pistol).

    Also, according to the Supreme Court, DiFi’s bill would be unconstitutional. They struck down the Heller ban and included a phrase about millions of legally owned firearms (in other locations, since it was site specific) being banned in that specific location is a no-no. So the millions of AR15s out there? Not going to be banned.

    Not to mention that there aren’t enough votes for this in the House and it wouldn’t pass the Senate either. Not with Reid in charge (if he even lets it come up for a vote).

    I don’t think many say that the second amendment means no regulations at all. But the fact that you focus on the well regulated militia is misleading. The militia is well regulated. It has to be. The militia is drawn from the pool of well armed American citizens. It is an individual right, just like freedom of speech or from religion.

    • DownriverDem

      Well I will continue to vote for Senator Levin so you have been cancelled out.

      • Yep, that’s how it works. I met the guy in high school and was impressed. Sad that he feels that way.

    • “Second Amendment rights are not absolute, according to [Justice] Scalia. Thus, the amendment does not grant the “right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose” (Heller., at 2816). Among “presumptively lawful” regulatory measures are laws that (1) prohibit carrying concealed weapons, (2) prohibit the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, (3) forbid the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or (2) impose conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. He adds that he could also find “support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons” (Id., at 2816, 2817). In a footnote, Scalia says the list of presumptively lawful measures “does not purport to be exhaustive.”

      • I don’t believe anyone here said that second amendment rights are absolute. I know I did not.

        • You wrote, “Also, according to the Supreme Court, DiFi’s bill would be unconstitutional” which doesn’t comport with Justice Scalia’s writing on Heller: “support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

          • There was also something in there about not making illegal firearms that are legally owned throughout the country. Something about in common use at the time.

            And this bogus category of “assault weapon” is very much in common use.

    • The defining attribute of a militia is the character of its members not the ownership of their guns. We will have a “well-regulated militia” when the ranks are filled with common citizens from every segment of society not when the ranks are filled with guys who have their own guns.

      • I agree. I’d love to see the standing army abolished and a citizens milita organized.

  • In February 2009, the darling of the right – Justice Scalia – spoke at a Stanford University Hoover Institution talk, calling the document a “morphing” piece of writing. In turn, the Supreme Court guides that evolution.

    “The Constitution changes from decade to decade to comport with — and this is a phrase we use in our Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, we the court does — to comport with ‘the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.'”

  • Russell

    In 1989, President Bush banned the importation of 43 models of military styled firearms via an executive order WITHOUT Congress. We are wondering if the President is considering a similar action or is he going to allow Congress to make the decision on what, if any, import restrictions will be put in place. I / we still can’t believe how little President Obama has done on the isssue.