Feinstein: 'NRA Is Venal, They Come After You'

By Susan Jones | January 28, 2013 | 6:17 AM EST

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, to introduce legislation on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), appearing on CNN''s "State of the Union" Sunday, conceded that passing her gun ban bill will be an "uphill fight," even in the Senate, because some Democrats as well as most Republicans oppose it.

"I concede, because the NRA is venal. They come after you, they put together large amounts of money to defeat you. They did this in '93 and they intend to continue it," Feinstein said.

CNN's Candy Crowley asked Feinstein if the NRA is really venal (which means corruptible or open to bribery) -- "or do they disagree with you on a matter of policy?"

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"The NRA has become an institution of gun manufacturers," Feinstein responded. "This morning, on the front page of The New York Times, I was reading about their program now to provide weapons and training for youngsters, from 8-years-old to 15-years-old. And this is supported by the gun manufacturers. In other words, here is a whole new group of people that we can get these weapons to, they just don't happen to be adults, they're children."

Crowley noted that "children with guns, certainly in terms of sport and hunting, is not a new phenomenon in a lot of places. The NRA would say, listen, we train them, we want to make sure that people who have guns know how to use them." Then she changed the subject.

Feinstein refused to say what questions she'll ask NRA head Wayne LaPierre when he testifies before the Judiciary Committee -- "but you can be sure I will have some questions for him," she said. "I know his position. It has never changed."

Feinstein said what has changed is "the continued use of these (military-style) weapons" in more and more mass shootings. She said the gun used by Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was "a very powerful weapon" that "had the velocity" to rip young children apart. "That should not be able to happen," she said.

"Here's a question," Feinstein told Crowley: "Does government have an obligation to protect those children? I believe we do. I believe we do."

Asked about beefed-up school security, Feinstein said one third of U.S. schools already have school guards. "There were two at Columbine. They couldn't get to the shooter, and that's the problem with this thing, having school guards really isn't the whole answer. The more you have these weapons, these military-style weapons that with a single-slide stock on the AR-15 can be made fully automatic, the minute you have that in, like, the Sandy Hook killer's hands, you have a devastating weapon."

Feinstein said she's been assured by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that she'll be allowed to offer her gun control package as a floor amendment, the same way she did it in 1993.