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Sen. Dianne Feinstein reintroduces assault weapons ban legislation

 (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)
(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation Wednesday to ban the sale and possession of military style assault weapons. The push comes after two mass shootings in six weeks, including a shooting at a church in Texas on Sunday that killed 26 people.

Feinstein indicated she knows the bill has little chance of moving in the Republican-controlled Senate. It is co-sponsored by 22 Democrats, including Feinstein's fellow California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Feinstein said in a statement that she introduced the bill so “the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote."

Feinstein authored the original assault weapons ban that was passed in 1994, but Congress did not reauthorize it and the ban ended in 2004.

“After each shooting, we’re told it’s not the right time to act. We’re told to respect the victims by sitting on our hands," Feinstein said. "To those who say now isn’t the time, they’re right — we should have extended the original ban 13 years ago, before hundreds more Americans were murdered with these weapons of war. To my colleagues in Congress, I say do your job."

The bill would ban the sale, manufacture and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons, including the AR-15 used in several recent mass shootings.

It also bans any assault weapon with a detachable ammunition magazine and military characteristics. It exempts certain guns typically used for hunting or recreation, and would allow people to keep banned weapons they already have.

The bill also bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates, something Feinstein spoke out for after 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the recent Las Vegas shooting.

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