Should the Assault Weapons Ban Be Reinstated?

Next year Sen. Diane Feinstein is re-introducing the Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004.

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Sen. Diane Feinstein of California said she will introduce an updated assault weapons ban to the new Congress in 2013, following the gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty children and six adults were killed by a gunman who burst into the Newtown, Conn. school two weeks ago, and the incident has renewed the national gun control debate.

Feinstein is the author of the original Assault Weapons Ban that was passed in 1994 but expired in 2004. The new bill will stop sales and manufacturing of assault weapons and large ammunition magazines, strips, and drums that hold more than 10 rounds. She said she's been working with her staff for over a year on the legislation:

It will be carefully focused on the most dangerous guns that have killed so many people over the years while protecting the rights of gun owners by exempting hundreds of weapons that fall outside the bill's scope. We must take these dangerous weapons of war off our streets.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on gun control and gun rights.]

According to a Justice Department study, the original ban reduced gun deaths by 6.7 percent, and the absence of the ban has resulted in assault weapons being used in 385 deaths.

Feinstein's office stressed the fact that the new assault weapons ban will not restrict the ability of hunters to use such weapons for sporting purposes by offering an exemption for those weapons as well as allowing weapons legally possessed before the enactment date of the bill to be grandfathered in. Yet gun rights advocates say the bill infringes upon their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and "the 'assault weapons' ban is just way for the Democrats to get their foot in the door and ban handguns." Awr Hawkins writes: 

But an even bigger problem lurks—right now the focus is only on "assault weapons" and semi-auto handguns, however, as soon as a public crime is committed with a double-action revolver, Feinstein and Co. will try to add those to the list as well.

The bottom line: If we are foolish enough to embrace a ban on any weapon in the coming Congress then we are unwittingly embracing a ban on every weapon. "

[ See 2012: The Year in Cartoons.]

What do you think? Should the assault weapons ban be reinstated? Take the poll and comment below.

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