Feinstein: Gun control 'uphill fight'
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
TribLive commenting policy
- Philadelphia Mafia figure returned to prison for meeting friend
- Warhol bodyguard sued over hidden artwork
- Seattle area school homecoming ‘prince’ guns down classmates
- North Korea may have key to nuclear missile, general says
- New York, New Jersey order 21-day quarantine of all in contact with Ebola virus
- Washington city takes stock of damage from rare tornado
- Lawyer turns down AG post
- 1686 shipwreck ‘like dinosaur’ being rebuilt for museum
- U.S. rules out apology to Pyongyang in exchange for 2 imprisoned Americans
- Test confirms remains are missing Virginia student’s
- 2 California deputies slain, suspect captured