New legislation proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein in response to the Newtown, Conn., murders would provide a far more effective ban on military-style assault weapons than the loophole-riddled law that lapsed in 2004.
The measure would not only outlaw the manufacture and sale of new semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns with large ammunition feeds, but also mandate federal registration and background checks on the owners of millions of rapid-fire weapons that were sold legally after the old ban expired. This is a crucial element since the nation has been inundated with such firearms, like the one used by the Connecticut shooter.
Ms. Feinstein said her proposal, which will be the major gun control initiative for the incoming Congress, would close loopholes in defining what constitutes an assault weapon. The old assault weapons ban prohibited only firearms that had two or more military-style characteristics. That meant the ban could be skirted simply by eliminating a minor characteristic like a bayonet mount and flash suppressor. The measure would also ban fast-feeding ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Read the entire editorial in The New York Times.