"I don't know why anyone would object to drying up the supply of these weapons over time," Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said in defending her assault weapons ban proposal, asserting that "while gun homicides are down in this country, mass shootings are not." For her this created a rationale for banning high-capacity magazines and assault weapons such as the AR-15, a semi-automatic variant of the M-16, which she said have a natural appeal to mass shooters. She also argued that the ergonomic "military features" which distinguished assault weapons make them uniquely lethal.
"Members, this isn't going to stop ... and we have a chance to do something about it," she concluded. Feinstein singled out the "Slide Fire" stock accessory, which dramatically increases the fire rate of a semi-automatic rifle. By implication, it is only a matter of time before the system is used to spray a crowd of innocent people with bullets, though Feinstein did not address the point that mass shootings and assault weapons are both rare.
Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) followed up by reading a letter from the relative of a shooting victim who stated that, while no one should have to go through what he did, he cautioned against knee-jerk reactions that diminish the liberty of law-abiding citizens.
Connecticut Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that an assault weapons ban, high-capacity magazine ban, and universal background check policy would have prevented or at least ameliorated the student deaths in Newtown, seeming to counter Grassley’s earlier statement to the contrary.
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