TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Feinstein: Gun control 'uphill fight'

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, 8:34 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who's leading the push to restore an assault weapon ban, acknowledged on Sunday that the effort faces tough odds to pass Congress, and she blamed the nation's largest gun-rights group.

Feinstein, D-Calif., on Thursday introduced a bill that would prohibit 157 specific weapons and ammunition magazines that have more than 10 rounds. The White House and fellow Democrats are skeptical the measure is going anywhere, given lawmakers who are looking toward re-election might fear pro-gun voters and the National Rifle Association.

“This has always been an uphill fight. This has never been easy. This is the hardest of the hard,” Feinstein said.

“I think I can get it passed because the American people are very much for it,” Feinstein said of the meassure that follows a similar measure she championed into law in 1994 but expired a decade later.

She acknowledged, however, the NRA's political clout.

“They come after you. They put together large amounts of money to defeat you,” Feinstein said.

She said the group was a pawn of those who make weapons.

“The NRA is venal. ... The NRA has become an institution of gun manufacturers,” she said.

The NRA disputed her characterization.

“The NRA is a grass-roots organization. We have more than 4 million dues-paying members and tens of millions of supporters all across this country. Our political power comes from them. Decent and logical people would understand that,” spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to take up the proposal on Wednesday and hear from the NRA's CEO and senior vice president, Wayne LaPierre. Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot in an assassination attempt, plans to testify.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, said Congress should focus on the causes of violence and not the weapons alone.

“We need to look beyond just recycling failed policies of the past. ... Let's go beyond just this debate and make sure we get deeper. What's our policy on mental illness? What's going on in our culture that produces this kind of thing? You know, we need to have that kind of a discussion and debate,” Ryan said.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., urged lawmakers to consider mental health issues.

“When I hear some of this conversation, I think that we're looking at symptoms, we're not looking at the root causes,” she said. “And I understand the senator's passion for this, but I got to tell you, an assault ban is not the answer to helping keep people safe.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Quarantine lifted, Maine nurse given right to roam
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture mismanaged rural program, federal audit shows
  3. Medicare paid for drug coverage of patients who had died, investigators say
  4. Unaccompanied immigrants put heavy strain on schools, charities
  5. Nurse defies Maine quarantine in standoff over Ebola
  6. Ebola virus could overwhelm health care system, AP finds
  7. Open encrypted messages by updating technology access law, FBI Director Comey says
  8. 1686 shipwreck ‘like dinosaur’ being rebuilt for museum
  9. Washington city takes stock of damage from rare tornado
  10. Headaches linked to weight loss surgery
  11. Health-exchange subscribers have trouble finding doctors to accept their insurance
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.