Feinstein calls for assault weapon ban after Boulder shooting

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday called for Congress to once again pass the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Boulder, Colo., on Monday evening after reports that the suspected shooter had an assault rifle.

Feinstein said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, which was scheduled before the Colorado shooting and last week’s deadly attacks on massage parlors in Atlanta, that she has 35 co-sponsors behind the bill. She first authored the bill in 1993 before it was officially signed into law the year after.

However, the ban expired in 2004, and Feinstein on Tuesday said she has since watched as “assault weapons have become the weapon of choice in mass shootings.” 

“Yesterday, our country was forced to endure yet another mass shooting, 10 people dead, including a police officer. All our hearts go out to all the families who lost a loved one yesterday, and the law enforcement who risk their lives in the line of duty,” she said.

“But, that doesn’t cure the problem,” added Feinstein. 

Feinstein on Tuesday said that from 1994 until the ban expired in 2004, violent gun massacres experienced a 37 percent decrease, and deaths from shootings fell by 43 percent. 

The Democratic senator added that in the 10 years after the ban expired, “there was a 183 percent increase in massacres, and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths.” 

Feinstein also noted that 10 days before Monday’s shooting, a court blocked a Boulder assault weapons ban that had been in place since 2018. 

According to The Associated Press, authorities said the suspected shooter purchased the rifle used in Monday’s shooting six days prior to the attack. 

Feinstein explained that the threat of gun violence continues to increase during the pandemic, citing a New York Times report that found 2 million guns were purchased in March 2020 as fears on COVID-19 spread, marking the second highest month on record for gun sales in the U.S. 

“I am so concerned about the rise in gun sales and the increased pressure being put on the background check system,” Feinstein said. “I’m also concerned about the number of people who have guns, but would not have passed a complete FBI investigation.” 

“These things are not going to stop, members, they’re just not,” she continued. “I’ve sat here for a quarter of a century listening. They don’t stop. And if you give people the ability to easily purchase a weapon that can be devastating to large numbers of people, some of them will use that, under stress or for whatever reason.” 

President Biden throughout his campaign threw support behind legislation banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons, and on Tuesday renewed these calls by specifically urging Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as close loopholes in the background check system. 

“I don’t need to wait another minute let alone an hour to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said in remarks from the White House.

Tags anti-gun violence Assault weapon assault weapons ban biden administration Dianne Feinstein Gun control Joe Biden Mass shootings Senate Judiciary Committee White House

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