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Push to ban assault weapons

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Rochester: Push to ban assault weapons
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Nearly a week after President Obama unveiled his recommendations to combat gun violence, California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to renew an assault weapons ban she championed 20 years ago. Our Michael Scotto has the story.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With a wall of firearms as a backdrop, California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation aimed at renewing the assault weapons ban she crafted in 1994.

Feinstein said, “Military-style assault weapons have but one purpose and in my view, it is a military purpose, to hold at the hip and spray fire and be able to kill large numbers.”

The new bill would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines that accept more than ten rounds. It specifically singles out 157 military style weapons, would narrow the definition to determine what constitutes an assault weapon and unlike the 1994 ban, which expired in 2004, this one would be permanent.

“No weapon is taken from anyone. The purpose to dry up the supply of these weapons over time and therefore, there is no sunset on this bill," Feinstein said.

The proposal is the most controversial of the measures unveiled by President Obama to combat gun violence and faces an uphill battle not only in the Republican-controlled House, but in the Senate, where rural Democrats fear a backlash from their constituents.

Already, the NRA is out with a statement, saying in part, “Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades....The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein's wrong-headed approach.”

A sentiment echoed by many Congressional Republicans.

“I think it's wrong to give people false hope that you're going to address this problem with knee-jerk reaction and beat your chest that we're going to fix this problem. It’s nonsense,” said North Carolina Representative Robert Pittenger said.

Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy is spearheading the legislation in the House and insists her colleagues should not fear the gun lobby.

McCarthy said, “You are going to hear from some on the opposite side who tell us it can't be done. I'm telling you it can be done.”

But she says it can only be done if the public goes to Congress and demands action.

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