Senate Dems, Led by Feinstein, Introduce Assault Weapons Ban

Sen. Dianne Feinsten (D., Calif.) / Getty Images
Sen. Dianne Feinsten (D., Calif.) / Getty Images
• November 8, 2017 4:02 pm


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and a long list of her Democratic colleagues introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 on Wednesday.

The bill would ban "the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines," according to a press release from Feinstein's office.

"We're introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote," Feinstein said in a statement.

Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, conceded that "this bill won't stop every mass shooting," but said "it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets."

The bill states that "owners may keep existing weapons and magazines" but bans the sale of "205 military-style assault weapons by name," the press release noted.

Beyond Feinstein, the legislation currently has 22 co-sponsors, including Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) and 21 other Democratic senators from deep blue states.

Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) support the bill, as do multiple potential 2020 presidential contenders. Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Al Franken (Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.) are all co-sponsors and rumored to be considering White House runs.

Republicans are not the only ones opposed to Feinstein's legislation. Sen. Angus King (I., Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats, said Tuesday that he opposes an assault weapons ban, calling these weapons "simply a semi-automatic hunting rifle in costume." He did add, however, that the Senate should consider limiting the magazine size that citizens can purchase.