U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has proposed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which seeks to ban 157 specific semi-automatic firearms and magazines accepting more than 10 rounds.
During a vivid press conference Thursday, Sen. Feinstein announced a more stringent ban than the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which expired a decade after she lobbied it into law.
This time around, Sen. Feinstein promised a bill that would be permanent and wouldn't be "so easy to work around" for firearms manufacturers. If passed, the bill would likely dry up the supply of AR-type rifles for law enforcement officers, Don Alwes told POLICE Magazine.
"If Feinstein gets her way, it could cause problems for officers," said Alwes, a SWAT trainer and representative of DoubleStar Corp. "Back during the previous ban it was still possible for an officer to get a banned weapon. If the new ban passes, ARs would be harder to obtain. You'll have to go through your department."
DoubleStar is among the companies called out in the bill, which also would also ban firearms produced by Colt, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Remington, Bushmaster, SIG Sauer, Beretta, Rock River Arms, Heckler & Koch, FNH USA, Armalite, and Springfield Armory. Click here for a full list.
Also notable is the bill's lack of an exemption for law enforcement for semi-auto pistol magazines with capacity for more than seven rounds. More than 900 models of guns would be exempt for hunting and sporting.
With the bill, Feinstein has "focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals or fixing our broken mental health system," a spokesman for the National Rifle Association told the New York Times.
Feinstein herself acknowledged her bill faces "an uphill road." Leaders in her own party, including Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), have questioned her approach. Sixteen Senate colleagues have signed on as co-sponsors, and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York) will introduce a similar version in the House.
Alwes said the bill would likely reduce the number of patrol rifles in law enforcement, because most departments don't issue rifles but rather allow officers to use their own rifles on duty.
"We're not addressing the real issues," Alwes said about the bill. "We're dealing with feel good legislation that won't accomplish anything."
The bill would also ban certain characteristics of guns such as semi-auto pistols with "at least one military feature" defined as a threaded barrel, second pistol grip, barrel shroud, capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip, or a semi-auto version of an automatic firearm.
Semi-auto rifles would be banned with "one military feature" such as a pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; barrel shroud; or threaded barrel.
The bill would also ban semi-auto shotguns with a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than five rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
Feinstein displayed several of the guns she proposes to ban on boards at the press conference, a move that required special coordination with the Metro (D.C.) Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police, reports the Washington Times.
Editor's Note: The Washington Post compares the new ban with the 1994 law here.
By Paul Clinton