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Dianne Feinstein on Gun Control

Democratic Sr Senator (CA)


Gun lobby has too much power in Washington

Q: Which special interests in Washington have too much power?

Dianne Feinstein: Guns. I wrote the assault weapons ban that was the law of the land for a decade. Now the National Rifle Association essentially has a stranglehold on Congress. I also believe the big oil companies enjoy outsize influence and protection in Washington.

Source: Sacramento Bee Voter Guide: 2012 CA Senate debate , May 31, 2012

Children kill children with guns, 13 times every day

The consuming passion of Dianne Feinstein's tenure in the Senate has been gun control. It is a passion that has been burned into her over many years of personal experiences with the brutal consequences of firearms. "We now have something happening in the US that has never happened before," Feinstein says grimly. "That is, children killing children with guns. Over 13 a day." Feinstein has been relentless in the battle, presenting a constant challenge to the NRA--including legislation designed to prohibit the manufacture and possession of military-style assault weapons, the Gun-Free School Act, and provisions to ban the import of high-capacity ammunition magazines. She is currently involved in writing legislation that will establish licensing and record of sale requirements for gun ownership. Such legislation, she believes, is the eventual solution to ensure that guns are only in the hands of responsible citizens and out of the hands of children and criminals.
Source: Nine and Counting, by Catherine Whitney, p.138-139 , Jul 25, 2000

Melted down her pistol into a cross and gave it to Pope

This is not an esoteric subject for me. My life experience is such that I have seen firsthand what guns have done. I've walked in on robberies. I became mayor of San Francisco as a result of assassination.

As a supervisor, I had no protection so I got a gun permit and learned to shoot at the Police Academy. When I became mayor, I succeeded in passing a measure banning handguns in San Francisco, and we instituted a 90--day grace period for pistol owners to turn in their handguns without incurring penalties. At that time, I turned in my pistol. That pistol and 14 others were melted down and sculpted into a cross, which I presented to Pope John Paul II during a trip to Rome later that year. The point is, I know where guns work for protection, and I know where they don't. I've lived a life that has been impacted by weapons, so this is not an esoteric, academic exercise for me. Nor is it a political exercise. I come to this issue because of real life experience.

Source: Nine and Counting, by Catherine Whitney, p.140 , Jul 25, 2000

Licensing and federal registration of all gun sales

Sen. Dianne Feinstein unveiled a gun control proposal that would require federally approved licensing of all owners of handguns and certain semi-automatic weapons. Feinstein said her plan is intended to keep handguns and semi-automatic firearms away from “criminals, people with mental disabilities, and children.”

Under her plan, applicants for gun licenses would have to pay $25 and go to one of 100,000 federally licensed firearms dealers or to a state-certified office. The dealer or state-approved official would then record tithe gun sale and licensing with the Treasury Department. Applicants would be required to submit a thumb print, a photograph, their name, birthplace and address, and sign a statement swearing that the information is accurate. They would also have to pass a written firearms test, akin to a driver’s test, that would pose questions about the safe handling of firearms and the owner’s legal responsibility. The licenses would be renewable every five years and could be revoked.

Source: Judy Holland, Hearst Newspapers , Apr 14, 2000

Voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.

Feinstein says, "Feinstein (D-CA)"

Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013

Voted NO on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains.

Congressional Summary:AMENDMENT PURPOSE: To ensure that law abiding Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.

On page 37, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following: "Allowing Amtrak Passengers to Securely Transport Firearms on Passenger Trains.--None of amounts made available in the reserve fund authorized under this section may be used to provide financial assistance for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) unless Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ROGER WICKER (R, MS). This amendment aims to ensure that gun owners and sportsmen are able to transport securely firearms aboard Amtrak trains in checked baggage, a practice that is done thousands of times a day at airports across the country. I emphasize that this amendment deals with checked, secured baggage only. It would return Amtrak to a pre-9/11 practice. It does not deal with carry-on baggage. Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak does not allow the transport of firearms in checked bags. This means that sportsmen who wish to use Amtrak trains for hunting trips cannot do so because they are not allowed to check safely a firearm.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D, NJ): I object to this disruptive amendment offered by the Senator from Mississippi. He wants to enable the carrying of weapons, guns, in checked baggage. One doesn't have to be very much concerned about what we are doing when they look at the history of attacks on railroads in Spain and the UK and such places. This amendment has no place here interrupting the budgetary procedure. The pending amendment is not germane and, therefore, I raise a point of order that the amendment violates section 305(b)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

Reference: Wicker Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.798 to S.Con.Res.13 ; vote number 2009-S145 on Apr 2, 2009

Voted NO on prohibiting foreign & UN aid that restricts US gun ownership.

Amendment SA 2774 to H.R. 2764, the Department of State's International Aid bill: To prohibit the use of funds by international organizations, agencies, and entities (including the United Nations) that require the registration of, or taxes guns owned by citizens of the United States.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. VITTER: This is a straight funding limitation amendment. Many folks who haven't followed the proceedings on this in the U.N. may ask: What is this all about? Unfortunately, it is about an effort in the United Nations to bring gun control to various countries through that international organization. Unfortunately, that has been an ongoing effort which poses a real threat, back to 1995. In 2001, the UN General Assembly adopted a program of action designed to infringe on second amendment rights. The Vitter amendment simply says we are not going to support any international organization that requires a registration of US citizens' guns or taxes US citizens' guns. If other folks in this Chamber think that is not happening, that it is never going to happen, my reply is simple and straightforward: Great, then this language has no effect. It is no harm to pass it as a failsafe. It has no impact. But, in fact, related efforts have been going on in the U.N. since at least 1995. I hope this can get very wide, bipartisan support, and I urge all my colleagues to support this very fundamental, straightforward amendment.

No opponents spoke against the bill.

Reference: Vitter Amendment to State Dept. Appropriations Bill; Bill S.Amdt. 2774 to H.R. 2764 ; vote number 2007-321 on Sep 6, 2007

Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.

Vote to pass a bill that would block certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, mainly those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. In this bill, trade groups would also be protected The bill would call for the dismissal of pending lawsuits against the gun industry. The exception would be lawsuits regarding a defect in a weapon or ammunition. It also would provide a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban which is set to expire in September 2004. The bill would increase the penalties for gun-related violent or drug trafficking crimes which have not resulted in death, to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. The bill calls for criminal background checks on all firearm transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are sold. Exemptions would be made available for dealers selling guns from their homes as well as members-only gun swaps and meets carried out by nonprofit hunting clubs.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S.1805/H.R.1036 ; vote number 2004-30 on Mar 2, 2004

Voted YES on background checks at gun shows.

Require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)50; VP decided YES
Reference: Lautenberg Amdt #362; Bill S. 254 ; vote number 1999-134 on May 20, 1999

Voted NO on more penalties for gun & drug violations.

The Hatch amdt would increase mandatory penalties for the illegal transfer or use of firearms, fund additional drug case prosecutors, and require background check on purchasers at gun shows. [A YES vote supports stricter penalties].
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)48; N)47; NV)5
Reference: Hatch Amendment #344; Bill S. 254 ; vote number 1999-118 on May 14, 1999

Voted NO on loosening license & background checks at gun shows.

Vote to table or kill a motion to require that all gun sales at gun shows be completed by federally licensed gun dealers. Also requires background checks to be completed on buyers and requires gun show promoters to register with the Treasury.
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-111 on May 11, 1999

Voted NO on maintaining current law: guns sold without trigger locks.

Vote to table [kill] an amendment to make it unlawful for gun dealers to sell handguns without providing trigger locks. Violation of the law would result in civil penalties, such as suspension or revocation of the dealer's license, or a fine.
Reference: Bill S 2260 ; vote number 1998-216 on Jul 21, 1998

Prevent unauthorized firearm use with "smart gun" technology.

Feinstein adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Make America the “Safest Big Country” in the World
After climbing relentlessly for three decades, crime rates started to fall in the 1990s. Nonetheless, the public remains deeply concerned about the prevalence of gun violence, especially among juveniles, and Americans still avoid public spaces like downtown retail areas, parks, and even sports facilities.

We need to keep policing “smart” and community-friendly, prohibiting unjust and counterproductive tactics such as racial profiling; focus on preventing as well as punishing crime; pay attention to what happens to inmates and their families after sentencing; use mandatory testing and treatment to break the cycle of drugs and crime; and enforce and strengthen laws against unsafe or illegal guns. Moreover, we need a renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and we must reject a false choice between justice and safety.

Technology can help in many areas: giving police more information on criminal suspects so they do not rely on slipshod, random stop-and-search methods; allowing lower-cost supervision of people on probation or parole; and making it possible to disable and/or trace guns used by unauthorized persons.

Above all, we need to remember that public safety is the ultimate goal of crime policy. Until Americans feel safe enough to walk their neighborhood streets, enjoy public spaces, and send their children to school without fear of violence, we have not achieved public safety.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC11 on Aug 1, 2000

Close the Gun Show Loophole; restrict show sales.

Feinstein signed H.R.2324& S.843

    Makes it unlawful for any person to operate a gun show unless such person:
  1. has attained 21 years of age;
  2. is not prohibited from transporting, shipping, or receiving firearms and has not violated any federal firearms requirements;
  3. has registered with the Attorney General as a gun show operator and has provided a photograph and fingerprints;
  4. has not concealed material information nor made false statements in connection with a gun show operator registration; and
  5. notifies the Attorney General of the date, time, and duration of a gun show not later than 30 days before the commencement of such show and verifies the identity of each vendor at the gun show.
Imposes recordkeeping requirements on gun show operators and criminal penalties for failure to register as a gun show operator and maintain required records. Increases criminal penalties for serious recordkeeping violations and violations of criminal background check requirements. Authorizes the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to hire additional investigators to carry out inspections of gun shows.
Source: Gun Show Loophole Closing Act 09-HR2324 on May 7, 2009

Ban large-capacity ammunition.

Feinstein co-sponsored Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

Source: H.R.138&S.33 13-S0033 on Jan 22, 2013

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