Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazine ban was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. According to Fox News, the 10-8 vote went strictly along party lines with the 10 Democrats on the committee voting in the affirmative. The ban was the last of four gun-related bills to be passed by the committee, including:

  • Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) illegal gun-trafficking statute
  • Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) school safety bill
  • Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) “universal background check” legislation

Feinstein’s bill is the most controversial and heavily opposed of the four. After the committee approval, the assault weapons bill is headed to the senate for consideration. Political experts and Senator Feinstein believe that the bill has a low chance of passing the full Senate.

“The road is uphill. I fully understand that,” Feinstein said. “My passion comes from what I’ve seen on the streets…I cannot get out of my mind trying to find the pulse in someone and putting my fingers in a bullet hole.”

The New York Times reports that amendments to the ban offered by John Cornyn (R-TX) were voted down in the hearing. The amendments would have allowed exemptions from the ban for victims of sexual assault, recipients of protection orders, and those who live on the southwest border of the country. Cornyn commented that he respected Senator Feinstein’s conviction, but would continue to reject the bill in its current form because it threatens the “self-defense rights of law abiding citizens.”

The National Rifle Association and other gun owners’ groups fiercely oppose the bill and are reportedly preparing a staunch resistance for the legislation when it hits the Senate.

Senator Feinstein will focus on gathering support for the ban, which faces a rough fight in both the Senate and Republican-controlled House.

Updated provisions of the 2013 Assault Weapons Ban, as listed on Senator Feinstein’s website:

  • Prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 currently-available military-style assault weapons;
  • Bans all other assault weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have one or more military characteristics;
  • Bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition;
  • Prohibits the sale or transfer of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices currently in existence;
  • Requires background checks on all future transfers of assault weapons covered by the legislation, including by sale, trade or gift;
  • Exempts from the ban all assault weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment;
  • Excludes more than 2,200 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles by specific make and model;
  • Excludes antique firearms; all firearms operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and firearms used by the military, law enforcement and retired law enforcement; and
  • Requires grandfathered assault weapons be stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from prohibited persons.

Image courtesy Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein

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