Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is leading the charge to reenact 1994′s so-called ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ but with a vengeance. On her official website she has laid out the highlights of her proposed legislation.
Following is a summary of the 2013 legislation:
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
A pdf of the bill summary is available here.
I’m not going to critique this line-by-line but rather give some general comments. Outlawing guns by name is straight out if the California textbook and is laughable. Folks will just change names and features and be right back in business.
To me, the big issue is the set of proposals I set apart toward the bottom. This notion of placing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act is the most intriguing. This is a very, very sticky issue. Sure, the proposed legislation appears to direct local law enforcement to accept NFA weapons in their jurisdictions but the legality of various NFA items varies from State to State. It would seem that Feinstein proposes to invalidate local laws regarding firearms ownership. Will Congress members from those areas fight this legislation on this element alone?
Or, if ownership of these new NFA weapons aren’t grandfathered in areas that currently outlaw their possession, will it mean that gun owners who prize the Second Amendment over their homes decide that they must move to areas that share their values? And, if there is a migration of gun ownership, won’t this cause even more friction at the national level as hoplomandering rewrites the political landscape in the put years?
Naturally, this will entail registration of all assault weapons. Not bad how they snuck that in there, huh? You’ll be able to keep your guns, but only if you register them as NFA items.
I would keep a very close eye on how the NRA reacts toward this element of the Congressional language. One more time, keep a very close eye on how the NRA reacts toward the NFA proposal.
Will it become the grand compromise to preserve the peace? And, if enacted, what will the consequences be?