Feinstein Introducing Gun Ban; Durbin Holding Hearings

By Susan Jones | December 17, 2012 | 6:17 AM EST

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.con) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says she will introduce a gun-control bill on the first day of the next Congress: "It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession --  not retroactively, but prospectively --" of "assault weapons" as well as high-capacity magazines.

And Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he will hold a hearing in two weeks on "this constitutional question," a reference to the Second Amendment. "That's the starting point," he said.

Feinstein, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," was asked if President Obama, by not pressing for reinstatement of the "assault weapons" ban, has failed to lead.

"I'm not going to comment on that," Feinstein told NBC's David Gregory. "I can tell you he is going have a bill to lead on, because it's a first-day bill I'm going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House, a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession -- not retroactively, but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.

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"So there will be a bill. We've been working on it now for a year. We've tried to take my bill from 1994 to 2004 and perfect it. We believe we have. We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not be -- fall under the bill, but the purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said, weapons of war, off the streets of our city."

What about schools hiring armed guards?

"Well, is this the way we want America to go?" Feinstein asked. "In other words, the rights of the few overcome the safety of the majority. I don't think so. I think America is ready. They're going to have an opportunity with this bill. I'm going to ask and spend my time and create a committee across this nation to support it."

'National conversation'

Other Democrats appearing on various Sunday talks also endorsed gun control as part of a "national conversation" about school safety.

"But gun control is part of it," Sen. Dick Durbin told "Fox News Sunday." "We need to sit down and have a quiet, calm reflection on the Second Amendment. Are there guns that really shouldn't be sold across America? Military assault weapons such as the one involved in this horrific incident in Connecticut?

"Are there high ammunition clips, high capacity ammunition clips that have no value, whatsoever when it comes to sporting and hunting and even self-defense? The person could buy body armor, take that body armor and use it to protect themselves as they kill innocent people.

"Can we have a thoughtful, calm, reflection on these things? And do it in the context of our Second Amendment? I think we need to."

Durbin questioned why Nancy Lanza, the mother of the mass-murderer, needed a "military assault weapons, designed for the military, that has the capacity to fire off hundreds of rounds."

Durbin says the "conversation" about guns has been dominated by "Washington," and he appealed to "hunters and sportsmen" to add their voices:

"We need people, just ordinary Americans, to come together, and speak out, and to sit down and calmly reflect on how far we go. I'm going to be holding a hearing after the first of the year, in about two weeks or so, on this constitutional question. That's the starting point," Durbin said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who is leaving Congress, also called for restoration of the "assault weapons" ban:

"Assault weapons, these were developed by the U.S. military, originally, as weapons of war," he told Fox & Friends. "And I think we ought to restore that assault weapons ban, because, not to take anybody's guns away from them (that) they have now. But to stop the manufacture and sale of those weapons now because, look what Lanza did to these poor kids."

Lieberman admitted that even the strongest gun laws won't stop all violent acts, but he also said it's time to "acknowledge that the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence, including mass violence, that will happen in our society."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a liberal gun-control advocate, called on President Obama to lead the nation on gun control:

"What the president can do is, number one, through executive action, he can order his agencies to enforce the laws more aggressively. I think there's something like 77,000 people who have been accused of lying when they have applied for a gun permit. We've only prosecuted 77 of them," the mayor told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"The president can introduce legislation, even if it doesn't get passed. The president campaigned back in 2008 on a bill that would prohibit assault weapons. We've got to really question whether military style weapons with big magazines belong in the streets of America in this day and age. Nobody questions the Second Amendment`s right to bear arms. But I don`t think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman, and child could carry an assault weapon.

"And I think the president, through his leadership, could get a bill like that through Congress. But at least he's got to try. And that's his job."

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