Senate rejects Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban

In addition to rejecting the Manchin-Toomey gun background check amendment today, the U.S. Senate also soundly rejected Dianne Feinstein’s effort to re-instate and expand the federal ban on assault weapons.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., last month had announced that he wouldn’t let Feinstein’s legislation proceed as part of a bigger gun-control bill, but that she would be given a chance to offer it as an amendment. That amendment was defeated Wednesday on a 40-60 vote.

“I’m disappointed by today’s vote, but I always knew this was an uphill battle. I believe the American people are far ahead of their elected officials on this issue, and I will continue to fight for a renewed ban on assault weapons,” Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement issued a few minutes ago.

A federal assault weapons ban was enacted in 1994 but expired in 2004.

“The very fact that we’re debating gun violence on the Senate floor is a step in the right direction, and I hope my colleagues vote their conscience and approve the underlying bill. But I’m certain that in the coming months and years, we will be forced to confront by other incidents like Newtown, where innocents are murdered with one of these weapons of war,” Feinstein said. “I will carry on this fight against military-style assault weapons, and I ask of the American people that they continue to pressure their elected officials to take action. It’s long overdue that we take serious steps to remove these dangerous firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines from society.”

Feinstein’s amendment would’ve banned the future sale, manufacture, possession and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned firearms it deems military-style assault weapons, plus any other semi-automatic firearm that can take a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics and any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds – much like California’s ban. Her amendment would’ve exempted weapons that were legally-owned at the time of enactment and excluded 2,258 hunting and specific makes and models of sporting weapons.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Be brave Josh. Post the photos of the 3 mass shooters together, with the caption: DO YOU REALLY THINK IT’S A GUN PROBLEM?
    I want to see the funny comments.

  • Josh Richman

    Be brave? Bravery has nothing to do with it, Bruce; I’m just not going to be a part of one of your unhinged rants.

  • RR senile columnist

    Tighten gun sales laws—it’s smart politics, the public mood supports it. But don’t assume it will make future massacres impossible.

  • JohnW


    MSNBC today interviewed a woman who was in the Senate gallery when the Manchin/Toomey background checks bill went down the tubes. She was the one who screamed “shame.” Her daughter was killed during the Tucson shooting and was hit by the 11th shot. Don’t ask me how they know that. If the shooter had had to reload after 10 shots, her daughter might still be alive. Another woman in the Senate gallery helped tackle the Tucson shooter when he tried to reload. I’d say these ladies have “standing” to petition Congress to do something.

  • Elwood

    I can’t believe that in all this blather no one has seen fit to post the old saw:

    “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” It is true.

    By the way: The Tucson shooter purchased the gun he used legally. Nutty as a fruitcake, but didn’t meet the criteria to prevent him from buying a gun.

    Maybe we should think more about tighter regulations on nuts than laws that punish law abiding gun owners.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @5 Josh wants to insult you & me to the fullest extent. We say the problem is with the shooters. Josh and his gang of crybabies, want to ban the hardware.
    Joe Biden has been crying in public, for as long as I can remember.
    42% of 25 year old’s in this country, have student debt. The crying over gun control, is merely a smokescreen, to keep the public’s mind off of much larger problems. Debt being #1. Followed by jobs, that pay enough, to pay off the debt.

  • Publius

    The only chance for this president to lead is a liberal landslide in 2014, due to his polarizing politics and disposition the president has made this all but impossible. Let the Lame Duck session begin!

  • JohnW


    Focus, focus.

    The background check bill that was defeated (if getting 54% of the votes is getting defeated), would merely make gun show and online gun sales subject to the same criminal background checks that are already in effect for purchases from licensed gun stores. This is something the NRA advocated after Columbine. The bill was authored by a Tea Party Republican from Pennsylvania and a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, both of whom have (or had) A ratings from the NRA. Only criminals would be affected, not mentally sound, law-abiding citizens.

    Al Qaeda loves the gun show & online loopholes.


    If you’re a violent felon and can’t pass a gun store background check, just go to Armslist.com. They’ll take care of you. No sweat. NY Times was able to track down a buyer named Omar (who posted his phone number). He was unable to buy through a gun store due to a pair of felony convictions for burglary and vehicle theft, as well as a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. He was looking to buy “a good handgun” and “some 9 mm ammo not at a crazy price.” Poor Omar!

    Since they started the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, nearly a million would-be buyers have been denied (per FBI website). Of course that number would be higher if 40% of gun purchases weren’t subject to background checks due to gun shows and online purchases.

    My favorite gun story for today is the one that was in today’s (Thursday) CC Times about the Arizona legislature passing a bill requiring that local agencies who conduct gun buyback events to sell the firearms to gun dealers. That sort of defeats the idea of a gun buyback program. Apparently you have a constitutional right to purchase a gun but no property right to dispose of it through a gun buyback program with the expectation that the gun will be destroyed and kept off the streets.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @8. I liked today’s gun story too. At the end of column 5, it became interesting & logical. Michael Scott from U of Wisconsin, an expert in police work, gave his take on ineffective gun buybacks. I liked his quote of:
    “The main reason that’s the case, is that gun buybacks tend to yield guns that are unlikely to be used in crimes”, including old, broken or worn out firearms, he said.
    In his published works, he calls the mass shooter(s), “Disturbed”.
    I have been saying things like this from day one. Just to be accused of having unhinged rants.

    @2. I had an unhinged rant today. I wasted 3 hours trying to get to talk to a human, with a State of California agency. I failed. I have sent 3 e-mails to this same State agency, not even a “Failure”, reply. Since this agency’s union “owns” Governor Brown, they have no reason to care. Driving people insane, gets them more business.
    Luckily, no one heard my unhinged rant.

  • Elwood

    @ JohnW #8

    All very interesting as usual John, and typical of your point of view, but none of it addresses my post.

    Oh well.

  • JohnW


    I’m sure quite a few of the guns that get turned in to buyback programs are fairly useless. Some people may even use the money as a downpayment on a more up-to-date gun. But I’ve seen plenty of pictures showing stacks of what looked to be very contemporary and fearsome hardware. In any event, a law requiring that the guns be sold to dealers is just an indirect way of outlawing gun buyback programs — taking away local government’s choice to have such programs. Why would a local government raise funds for a buyback if they are forced to sell the guns to dealers rather than destroy them? Guess the AZ legislature just can’t stand the idea that some people might want to exercise their Second Amendment right to NOT bear arms.

  • JohnW


    Elwood, I believe your points were (a) that only outlaws will have guns if guns are outlawed; (b) expanded background checks would not have prevented Tucson and similar tragedies, because the guns used were legally obtained; and (c) we should regulate the “nuts” and not punish law abiding gun owners.

    Focusing specifically on expanding criminal (and mental) background checks to include online and gun show sales:

    (a) Expanded background checks wouldn’t outlaw guns. They are designed to keep criminals and people with severe mental problems from getting guns.

    (b) Expanded background checks might not have prevented Tucson. It might have prevented Aurora if background checks were applied to ammo as well as guns. As I recall, the shooter bought several thousand rounds online. More important, expanded background checks are a key component of shutting down the gun trafficking networks that feed the street gun violence in the cities. Stated differently, background checks may have more utility in reducing street gun violence than massacres like Tucson, Aurora and Newtown. In this gun debate, my emphasis has always been on the street gun violence, which kills more innocent and not so innocent people than the massacres. Personally, I think we have more ability to reduce the former than prevent the latter. However, I do think we could reduce the body count in the latter without the rapid fire rifles and high capacity ammo magazines.

    (c) How do expanded background checks punish law abiding citizens? The name of the FBI program is National Instant CRIMINAL Background Check System. What part of “Instant” and “Criminal” hurts law-abiding gun owners?

  • MichaelB


    Focus? Focus?

    Dianne Feinstein wanted an “assault weapons” ban (despite the earlier Senate hearings indicating it was not effective when enacted earlier/most criminals don’t use rifles at all). That’s what this article was about.

    She and other “progressives” (who don’t support the 2nd Amendment to begin with) think the way to address crime/violence is to blame guns, complain about “too many” of them being around (which I guess somehow “forces” criminals to abuse them) and to prevent legal purchases/possession for law abiding people having nothing to do with crime/violence.

    This is why the gun control movement is not to be trusted/bargained with despite claims of only wanting so called “reasonable” regulations. They think crime/violence is a function of guns. And the “solution” is just getting rid of them/reducing legal ownership/usage to an acceptably “low” number.

    Her earlier version of this bill would have required law abiding owners to register/get the same permit from the government associated fully automatic firearms just to keep them. It’s rather obvious criminals would not have registered their guns/requested a permit.

    As usual there is little, if any, discussion or interest from her about identifying/stopping individuals who abuse firearms. The gun was at “fault” because of the pistol grip, folding stock, detachable magazine holding more than the politically acceptable 10 cartridges, evil looking bayonet lug, not being “needed” for deer hunting, etc.

  • MichaelB


    The problem with gun “buybacks”, in addition to being ineffective, is that gun control supporters want to make them mandatory for law abiding people legally owning guns for so called “violence prevention” purposes.

    The left wing thought it was just wonderful that they did the same thing when they outlawed certain kinds of guns in Australia – “bought them back” (confiscated them) from the legal owners.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @11. If you read the entire story, not just the first 5 columns of crybaby propaganda, you would have found that wasting taxpayer money, was the point of the Arizona politicians.
    I’m trying to figure out how an old geezer,can be so naive. Your head is in the sand, John Wuss.
    Next you are going to write a long story about the guns being the problem with the Boston/Watertown terrorists. Yahoo has them on this mornings news. They held up a 7-eleven, like any other “disturbed” young men.

  • MichaelB


    More legal regulations “might” have prevented this, they “might” have prevented that, we “could” reduce this, etc. And if it just saves one life, it’s worth it? Sound familiar? If we just had one more “reasonable” gun law everything would somehow be “fixed”.

    I bet you if you ask politicians in places like Chicago and Washington DC (where it still is difficult/expensive for law abiding people to legally own firearms/certain ones are just banned)they would probably say exactly the same things. Criminals ignore all of their regulations/do what they wish.

    The end result is the law abiding just get regulated to a point where they can’t own/do much of anything unless they have wealth/political connections. And then watch the gun control supporters go after these same people (already complying) claiming they are just “not doing enough” to prevent crime/violence and need to be restricted even more.

    Why not ask if it’s actually worked when tried instead of just knee jerking and regulating/banning it?

  • JohnW


    We lose 33 people a day to street gun violence. That not only affects the lives of the victims and their families, but also makes those communities a war zone for all the innocent people who live there, who can’t even let their kids out to play in the streets. I believe we could cut that in half by expanded criminal background checks and giving law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on straw buyer gun trafficking. It seems to me that is a very favorable cost/benefit ratio. The only people whose liberty would be affected one iota are the people who fail the background checks or are punished for willful gun trafficking. I can’t believe that even the most ardent 2nd Amendment fans on this blog are truly against that.

  • JohnW


    I love you too, Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette. Your nickname terms of endearment are an inspiration to us all.

    You’ll be pleased to know that I did, in fact, read every word of all six columns of the Arizona buyback story published in the CC Times. I very much appreciate your suggestion that I do this. I’m sure you mean well. However, I have a bad habit of doing this on my own without anybody needing to advise me.

    If you think the real motive behind the Arizona legislature requiring that guns turned in during gun buybacks be sold to gun dealers is to stop wasting taxpayer money, then it is not I whose head is buried in the sand. There are two problems with that notion.

    First, perhaps the Arizona legislature should focus on statewide issues and let the local governments and citizens decide what is or isn’t good use of taxpayer resources in their respective jurisdictions. Local, close-to-the-people decision making. Isn’t that a key tenet of conservative political philosophy?

    Second, most of the funds used in local gun buybacks usually come from private donors. See the link below.


  • RR senile columnist

    Gun control is the answer to violence in poor minority areas. What an insight!

  • Elwood

    @19 RR

    And more idiotic laws (see today’s CCTimes)will deter crime.

    Criminals quake in fear at the prospect of new laws.

    As an example, look at how well laws have deterred the drug trade and illegal immigration.

  • MichaelB


    No, many people would be affected. And not those who “failed the background check”.

    If the expanded background check system is run like the one in California you would have to process private firearms sales/transfers via an FFL holder.

    In case you didn’t notice politicians/gun control advocates in this state (and at the federal level) have done their best to discourage/prevent these people from operating at all. Remember complaints about so called “kitchen table gun dealers”, “more FFLs than gas stations” and licenses being too easy to get/fees being too inexpensive?

    There used to be some of them operating in the city I live in but (drum roll please) the city council decided to revoke their licenses unless had they a storefront business for “violence prevention” reasons. And then they enacted additional regulations/fees for operating those storefront businesses as well. So now who is going to process these “sensible” expanded background checks for those who want them?

    Since when do politicians in this state welcome business owners wanting to open gun shops in their communities? They don’t!

    Costs far exceed benefits. No self respecting bad guy is going to submit to an “expanded” background check.

  • JohnW


    I mention the “more FFLs than gas stations” thing in response to one of your other posts, before I saw @21. Is it not true? Was it not true that there were non-store FFL’s who were selling off the books to gangs and drug dealers? Isn’t that a bad thing that should be stopped?

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Michael Scott,teaches behavior science, law, sociology & runs the Center for Problem Oriented Policing, @ the University of Wisconsin.
    John Wuss writes long replies to every comment on this blog. He also thinks mainstream media isn’t hype, propaganda &/or corrupt.
    Who are we going to believe?

    Last night I saw a story about the 1942 air raid on Los Angeles. It was made up by the newspapers.

  • MichaelB


    So who cares how many there are? The “gas station” comment was just an emotionally based argument from gun control groups that there were just “too many” of them/people who had them must be doing something wrong.

    If this nation has a right to bear arms and hundreds of millions of citizens there are going to be many individuals/businesses associated with selling guns. What do people expect? Just a handful?

    If someone is abusing an FFL then an investigation can determine if it should be revoked or not. Not a left wing mob/politician claiming the “gun lobby” causes violence and mindlessly chanting “do it (revoke the license) for the children”.

  • JohnW


    You have a fair point. The gas station statistic is just a headline grabber. But it flies in the fact of the gun lobby’s laughable but tragically successful efforts to portray gun owners as victims under siege.

  • Elwood

    Jerry Brown says man arrested trying to break into his loft building

    “”A guy … got in, got up to the roof, jumped down on the balcony and was trying to break in,” Brown told reporters after mentioning the incident in a speech today at a Crime Victims United rally at the Capitol. “One of my neighbors called the police, and he was arrested, and I think he’s out on his own recognizance.”

    Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/04/jerry-brown-says-man-arrested-trying-to-break-into-his-loft-building.html#storylink=cpy

    Jerry’s quote speaks for itself.

  • MichaelB


    Where do you get your “facts” from?

    There’s nothing “laughable” about what gun control supporters are doing in so called “progressive” states like New York. The Governor of New York State, not the “gun lobby”, was the one saying gun confiscation (from law abiding citizens) “was an option”. Another gun ban was passed there (rushed through the legislative process) and you can now be criminally charged in that state if your magazine has more than 7 cartridges in it.

    I’m sure the bad guys are really scared, aren’t they?

    What flies in the face of your “argument” is California already having some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and Democrats just wanting more every year anyway. If Feinstein had her way there would have been another federal gun ban/the people legally owning certain kinds of guns having to register them with the government/pay a fee. Or they could be criminally charged.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @27. The Democrats are owned by the prison guards union. So they want to fill the prisons with gun owners & build more prisons. They don’t care if it bankrupts the state. People keep voting for more taxes and more Democrats.

  • RR senile columnist

    BRP has made a compelling argument for the existence of a vast left-wing conspiracy. The labor/Dems want to replace the prison pop of thieves, rapists and killers with free-thinkings libertarians.

  • JohnW

    Hey, it’s bipartisan. The prison guard union owns the Democrats, and the private prison industry owns the Republicans.

    Anyway, BRP may be right about the plan to fill new prisons with gun owners. I’m pretty sure the construction site they have in mind is somewhere in the vicinity of Lafayette. They’re still hunting for an appropriate nearby landing area for the black helicopters.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @30. You give me great ideas Johnny old man. There is a site for a prison in Lafayette. The current plans are for 324 apartment units overlooking the freeway. The NIMBY’s should be happy with a prison, instead of apartments.
    @29. Free thinking Libertarians, want to reduce the prison population of druggies. I’ve heard that half the prison population is drug related. The prison guards supply them with drugs. When the druggies get out of prison, the only job they can find, is selling more drugs. Or worse.
    The only conspiracy, right & left, is keeping the prisons full. Prisons are the lifeblood of rural towns like Avenal, Chowchilla, Soledad, Delano, Susanville, Crescent City, Tehacapi & many more.

  • Elwood

    Didn’t Ike warn us about the prison industrial complex?