Feinstein re-introduces assault weapons ban
It didn't take long, but Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein has introduced legislation to ban more than 200 types of firearms as well as creating a ban on bump stocks. But what does the bill really do? Not much, really:
Along with more than 20 fellow Senate Democrats, Feinstein announced on Wednesday the re-introduction of a bill to ban so-called "assault weapons" and those bump stocks that took so much of the blame for last month's massacre in Las Vegas.
Specifically, Feinstein's legislation would ban the sale and manufacture of 205 different weapons (a full list can be found in the bill). One is the AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle used in several mass shootings, including the attack on the Texas church last weekend—and also used by Stephen Willeford, the former NRA instructor who engaged the church shooter and may have prevented further deaths. Feinstein's bill also targets specific gun accessories, including the bump stocks used by the Las Vegas concert shooter. Bump stocks allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at higher rates but with less accuracy.
The bill exempts weapons used for hunting, and it would allow anyone who already owns one of the proscribed guns to keep them. In other words, it would be completely ineffective at removing these weapons from American society. But that's not really the goal at all. The goal is to do something about gun violence, and Feinstein's proposal certainly counts as something. Something ineffective and useless, but still a thing. A thing that could be done.
In short, it's a sham. There are, however, political considerations behind the charade:
This bill has been introduced for "one reason": so Democrats can score political points by holding it up and waving it every time there's a high-profile crime with a gun. Look! There's a bill right here, ready for debate and a vote! Will the bill do anything to stop these horrific attacks from happening? Well, no, but that's not the point.
At least she's being honest about it. Feinstein has never been particularly good at masking the fact that her assault ban proposals are based more in emotion than reason; this is another entry in that long ledger.
All of which means gun rights supporters in Congress will have to fight tooth and nail to defeat a bill that changes nothing, only to find their vote crammed into 30 second ad spots calling them monsters with blood on their hands during the next election.
If you find yourself becoming a bit cynical about the whole process, you're not alone. Then again, this is how the DC swamp has long operated. Introduce brochure bills with flashy names that look great in a re-election campaign, and allow you to milk the emotions (and bank accounts) of your followers.