Anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is unveiling her proposal to ban so-called “assault weapons” Thursday that would greatly expand the types of firearms affected, including semi-automatic rifles, handguns and shotguns, along with standard capacity magazines.
Her measure, which was discussed by this column last month, would classify a firearm with a single “military characteristic” as an “assault weapon.” According to this report from KCBS, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, Feinstein’s bill will limit magazine capacity to a maximum of nine rounds.
How Feinstein’s new proposal will be received here in Washington State depends upon to whom one listens. According to Washington Ceasefire, a majority of state residents favor banning so-called “assault weapons” based on a survey of 600 registered voters that asked this question: “Adults may purchase semiautomatic assault weapons that are capable of firing over a 100 bullets per minute and mimic firearms designed solely for combat including features such as a grenade launcher and bayonet holder. After hearing more, do you support a law to ban semi-automatic assault weapons?”
Nothing like asking a biased question complete with a scary reference to a grenade launcher, is there? The Stranger posted the entire questionnaire. They are discussing this poll at the WaGuns forum. Scores of people brought such rifles to last Saturday's Gun Appreciation Day rally in Olympia.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Vice President Joe Biden is in Virginia today, pushing President Barack Obama’s anti-gun agenda. Biden will be hosting a YouTube discussion on violent crime beginning at 1:45 p.m. Eastern time today (10:45 a.m. in Washington).
The firearms community is bracing for battle. This is an attack on the most popular rifle in the nation right now and millions are owned by private citizens all over the country, including the Evergreen State. As this column revealed, rifles – including the modern sporting rifles that resemble military weapons and are the target of the ban – are used in less than three percent of gun-related murders in the U.S., according to FBI data from 2011.
Feinstein’s bill also targets semi-auto pistols, which is the most common type of handgun in use today by legally-armed private citizens and police. It is not clear how “military characteristics” would be defined, but millions of these handguns have the same features as military sidearms, including accessory rails, tritium night sights, standard capacity magazines and/or lanyard rings.
This column will update as details of Feinstein’s proposal become available.
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