California Sen. Diane Feinstein may have few Republican allies -- or even conservative Democrats -- as she pushes a new assault weapons ban, but she can at least count on the support of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) who issued a statement Thursday hailing the legislative effort.
“No one thinks that this fight is going to be easy, but who can be content to do nothing in the face of one awful tragedy after another?” Schiff said in a statement.
Feinstein’s new measure, which goes further than the now-lapsed 1994 law she authored, would prohibit the sale, import and manufacture of more than 150 weapons -- including the make of Bushmaster rifle used in the Connecticut school shootings -- and ammunition magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds, according to the L.A. Times.
Those who legally own assault weapons would be allowed to keep them. Buyers of currently owned assault weapons would be subject to criminal background checks.
"We have tried to recognize the right of a citizen to legally possess a weapon,’’ Feinstein said Thursday at a Capitol Hill press conference, standing alongside a display of assault weapons, including models similar to those used in mass shootings. "No weapon is taken from anyone. The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time.’’
Although Feinstein dropped the idea of requiring owners of assault weapons to register their firearms, her proposal quickly drew criticism from the National Rifle Assn., which called the measure “wrongheaded,” The Times reported.
“It's disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals or fixing our broken mental health system,” the NRA said in a statement. “The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Sen. Feinstein's wrongheaded approach."
In his statement, Schiff -- a former federal prosecutor -- also pressed for the need of universal background checks and better mental health records, as well as going after gun “straw purchasers” and eliminating the gun industry's wide protection from civil liabilities. He has proposed legislation dealing with the two latter issues.
--Jason Wells, Times Community News