(MintPress) – Legislation introduced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) seeks to limit the type of assault weapons available to the public — unless, of course, you’re a lawmaker.
“The bill introduced today is the product of more than a year of work, with input from across the country,” Feinstein said in a press release. “Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth waging. We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style assault weapons with the growing threat to lives across America.”
The proposed legislation would limit the distribution of 150 types of military-style semiautomatic weapons, while also limiting semiautomatic pistols with detachable magazines and those with telescoping or other military-like capabilities. However, there are exemptions to the ban.
Law enforcement officials and those retired from the profession would not be held to the legislation. Government officials, defined as “people elected or appointed to administer a government,” are also exempt.
Aside from the gaping hole of lawmaker accountability, the legislation would be successful in limiting the sale of AR-15 Bushmaster, which was used by alleged shooter James Holmes at a Aurora, Colo. theater.
The legislation is similar to the 1994 assault ban, which expired in 2004.
“One criticism of the ‘94 law was that it was a two-characteristic test that defined it, and that was too easy to work around,” Feinstein said at a press conference. “Manufacturers could simply remove one of the characteristics and the firearm was legal. The bill we are introducing today will make it much more difficult to work around by moving to a one-characteristic test.”
It’s also made more difficult to work around in the sense that it has no expiration sunset clause.
In terms of hunting concerns, the bill leaves out more than 2,200 weapons used for the sport, including those manually operated through slide, bolt, pump or lever.
Feinstein’s bill is part of Obama’s gun control package, which included a push for criminal background checks for all gun purchases, a renewed assault weapons ban and limitations on high capacity ammunition magazines — all of which are subject to Congressional approval.
What the president did on his own terms was different, issuing 23 executive orders that provide better training for school officials, first responders and law enforcement officials to deal with mass shooting situations.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is opposed to the proposed bill, claiming Americans do not want a re-implementation of the assault weapons ban.