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Feinstein Pushes to Ban America’s Most Popular Firearm, Again

Friday, March 22, 2019

Feinstein Pushes to Ban America’s Most Popular Firearm, Again

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, ‘Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in,’ I would have done it."—U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

It’s been nearly 25 years since Dianne Feinstein uttered those words while discussing the 1994 ban on semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns. With that proclamation, she made clear that her ultimate goal when it comes to firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens is nothing short of confiscation.

Of course, the ’94 ban was an absolute failure. Sold to the country, by Feinstein and others, as a means to combat violent crime, a congressionally-mandated study of its effectiveness showed it had no impact on crime. After 10 years, the ban ended when Congress wisely chose to not renew it.

Fast-forward a quarter century since that misguided, ineffective federal semi-auto ban was enacted, and Feinstein is still in the Senate, and still promoting banning firearms.

Some things never change.   "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, ‘Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in,’ I would have done it."—U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

The latest attack on the Second Amendment by California’s senior Senator comes in the form of S. 66, which she introduced on January 9. And while she has made changes to what was enacted in 1994, those changes have made a bad old law into a worse proposed new law.

First, she has greatly expanded the number of firearms that would be impacted. The 1994 ban specifically named about two dozen firearms to be designated as “semiautomatic assault weapons.” Feinstein’s S. 66 singles out more than 200.

It gets worse.

The ’94 generic definition of a “semiautomatic assault weapon” has been expanded to include almost all popular semiautomatic rifles.

And while S. 66 does grandfather in a “semiautomatic assault weapon” if it was owned prior to the ban’s restrictions going into effect, any future transfer of an affected rifle would be subject to a NICS check. That includes transferring the rifle as a “sale, gift, or loan.”

Do you want to give your spouse one of the affected firearms as a gift? NICS check.

Do you want to take your kids out on your own property, where it is completely legal and safe to discharge a firearm, to give them basic safety and marksmanship lessons with an affected firearm? NICS check.

Do you want to loan your neighbor, who you know to be a law-abiding citizen that is familiar with the safe, responsible handling of firearms, one of your affected guns? NICS check.

The NICS check will have to be done through a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, so every one of these “transactions” will require a trip to a gun store. Those in rural areas may find this quite prohibitive, as is likely the intent, as the closest FFL holder could be hours away.

Another failed policy included in S. 66, which was also found in the ’94 ban, is the prohibition on “large capacity feeding device(s).” The same arbitrarily-chosen magazine capacity applies; 10 rounds. This, of course, is a lower capacity than the magazines that come standard with the most popular firearms sold today.

Like the firearms affected by S. 66, impacted magazines are also grandfathered, with one key difference. Future transfers of the affected magazines are prohibited. As the bill is currently drafted, you can transfer an affected firearm through an FFL, but not the magazine that came with it if it exceeds “legal” capacity.

Although Feinstein’s latest attack on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms is much worse than previous iterations, some things have improved.

In 1994, the Senate was controlled by anti-gun Senators, with an anti-gun President pushing for a ban. Today, the Senate is under pro-gun control, and President Donald Trump has stated opposition to such a ban.

In addition, we have had two Supreme Court cases affirm that the Second Amendment protects a right to possess firearms “in common use at the time for lawful purposes.” S. 66 seeks to ban the most popular class of rifles in America, with an estimated 16 million having been produced since the ’94 ban expired.

Anti-gun extremists may face more difficulties in promoting their latest federal ban, but that doesn’t mean those who cherish freedom should be complacent. I urge you to contact your Senators and urge them to reject S. 66. This is just the latest attempt to ban the most popular firearms in America, and, as Senator Feinstein has admitted, merely a stepping stone toward her true goal; eventual confiscation.

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

Former NRA-ILA Executive Director

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Chris W. Cox served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, until 2019. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversaw eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.