Summary of Pending Gun Control Bill

UPDATE: Feinstein Bill to be introduced on 22 Jan 2013

Below is the official summary of the Feinstein bill on gun control, which the Senator said she would submit to Congress in January, 2013:

Summary of 2013 legislation

– Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:

  • 120 specifically-named firearms;
  • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
  • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.

    – Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:

  • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
  • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
  • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.

    – Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

    – Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:

  • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
  • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
  • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.

    – Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:

  • Background check of owner and any transferee;
  • Type and serial number of the firearm;
  • Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
  • Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
  • Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.

    The above summary is from:

    I’ll update this post once the actual bill is submitted to Congress and we can see the exact wording. For now, I’ll just add a few comments based on the summary.

    1. The bill is almost certain to be amended as it goes through the House and the Senate. Republicans in the new Congress (the 113th Congress runs from 2013 to 2015), which starts today, have a majority in the House and enough votes in the Senate to prevent cloture (vote to end debate on an issue). So they will have influence over the bill. However, there is much support for some type of additional restrictions on guns.

    2. In my opinion, the provision least likely to be changed, and most likely to make it into the final law, is the ban on magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds.

    I’m OK with that part of the ban. I don’t want any restrictions on guns, except as needed to save lives. I think the hi-cap mag ban is annoying, but probably a good idea. In fact, if it were up to me, that’s all the law would contain. Just ban the hi-cap mags, and deal with other issues down the road in other legislation, if necessary.

    3. The new definition of a banned gun requires only three things:
    a. semi-automatic operation
    b. detachable magazine
    c. any single ‘military’ feature (not including flash suppressor and bayonet mount)

    This new definition is a problem mainly because ‘pistol grip’ is considered a feature, and ‘bullet button’ magazines will still be considered detachable. Very many rifles have a pistol grip, and — in my less than humble opinion — a pistol grip does not make a gun more dangerous.

    A “fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds” is typically a tubular magazine on a shotgun, lever-action gun, bolt-action gun or the like. Typically those guns have no more than 10 rounds. The most common exception is the .22LR, but it is being reported that the law will exempt .22′s with tubular magazines even with more than 10 rounds. So my Marlin Model 60 is save (for now).

    4. The 900 named exempt weapons reportedly consist mainly of guns that would be exempt even if they weren’t on the exempt list. It is nice that they are named, so that there is no confusion. But it does not represent a loosening of the law.

    5. Reportedly, the law will also ban semi-automatic handguns if a fully-automatic version of the gun is also manufactured. This would seem to imply that the Glock 17 (fully automatic version is the Glock 18) and the Beretta 92FS (full-auto version is the 93R) would be banned. I think this provision is unlikely to survive and become law (if the reports are even correct).

    Reportedly, semi-auto pistols over 50 oz. will be banned. Sorry Desert Eagle fans. Your pistol might soon become NFA.

    The ban on pistols will also reportedly expand to include those stockless short-barreled almost-rifles that formerly were considered legal as pistols (not NFA as short-barreled rifles)

    6. The requirement that grandfathered weapons be considered NFA and be registered is particularly onerous. The wording of the summary suggests that you might still be able to sell or transfer a grandfathered weapon, but only with ATF approval, just as with NFA weapons now.

    7. Things we don’t yet know:

    Will hi-cap mags be grandfathered, or will their possession be illegal?
    Will transfer/sale of hi-cap mags be legal for civilians?
    Which 120 guns are banned regardless of features?
    Will shotguns have a lower allowed maximum magazine capacity, as is the case in some States?
    Will there be nationwide protests if the law, as enacted, is too strict?
    Which gun manufacturers will benefit, and which will be harmed by the law?

    There are many small AR-15 gun manufacturers, and the enacted law is highly likely to retain the ban on that type of weapon. The smaller manufacturers probably don’t have military or police contracts. So it looks like the law might put many of them out of business.

    The law might benefit manufacturers of “manual” guns, such as lever-action rifles, bolt-action rifles, and revolvers. The ban on semi-automatics may push buyers to that type of gun. However, some major gun manufacturers may be adversely affected if their bestselling guns are suddenly banned.

    I’ll update this post once the bill is available online.

    – Thoreau

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  • One Response to Summary of Pending Gun Control Bill

    1. “Compromise” has gotten us to where we are today. This attack on the American people has nothing to do with saving lives, just making it safer for government opressors. Ever wonder why, out of all of the governments that have been replaced in our lifetime, NONE of the replacements have included anything resembling the U.S. second amendment? ALL GOVERNMENTS ARE EVIL!!!!