Mar 23 2021
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the shooting in Boulder, Colorado and the need to pass legislation that would renew the Assault Weapons Ban.
High-resolution video of the remarks is available here.
“I feel really compelled – and as I finish my remarks I think you’ll see why – to say something.
Yesterday, our country was forced to endure yet another mass shooting. Ten people dead, including a police officer.
All our hearts go out to all of the families who lost a loved one yesterday and to law enforcement who risked their lives in the line of duty. But that doesn’t cure the problem.
There are reports that the shooter used an AR-15 style rifle. Sadly, I’ve watched as assault weapons have become the weapon of choice in mass shootings. We have seen them used in Las Vegas, in Dayton, in Orlando, in San Bernadino, in Parkland and in Sandy Hook.
Boulder, Colorado banned assault weapons in 2018, but 10 days ago a court blocked the ban.
In 1994, I introduced a federal Assault Weapons Ban, which President Clinton signed into law. A 2016 study showed that compared with the 10-year period before the ban was enacted, the number of gun massacres between 1994 and 2004 fell by 37 percent, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43 percent. Unfortunately, the ban expired in 2004, and in the 10 years after, there was a 183 percent increase in massacres and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths.
During the campaign, President Biden pledged his support for legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
There has been a spike in gun sales during the pandemic. The New York Times reports that approximately 2 million guns – 2 million – were purchased in March 2020, the second-highest month ever.
Similarly, Politico has reported that: ‘In March 2019 and February 2020, the NICS system blocked about 9,500 and 9,700, respectively. But in March 2020, it blocked more than double that amount: a whopping 23,692 gun sales.’
I am so concerned [about] the rise in gun sales and the increased pressure being put on the background check system. I am also concerned about the number of people who have guns but would not have passed a complete FBI investigation.
So the question is: What are we going to do about it? These things are not going to stop, members. They’re just not.
I sat here for a quarter of a century listening. They don’t stop. And if you give people the ability to easily purchase a weapon that can be devastating to large numbers of people, some of them will use that under stress or for whatever reason, I don’t know.
This doesn’t make sense. Mr. Chairman, I really hope we can do something about it. I have 35 cosponsors on a renewed Assault Weapons Ban that is in this committee. And I would hope we can hold a hearing and perhaps consider that legislation.”