Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senator Dianne Feinstein urges US mayors to support renewed gun control

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Senator Dianne Feinstein is poised to introduce a bill that would renew the federal ban on assault weapons.

Next week, California’s senior U.S. Senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, will introduce a bill that would renew the federal ban on assault weapons. Feinstein was the author of the 1994 law that Congress allowed to expire after a decade.

Today, she called on U.S. mayors for support, saying it’s more difficult now than at any time in her four decades of public service to pass what she called “reasonable gun regulation.”

Feinstein, who became mayor of San Francisco after Mayor George Moscone was gunned down in 1978, spoke at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Feinstein warned that gun organizations will do "whatever they can do" to prevent regulation of firearms in this country, calling that "really too bad."

She said she’d give each mayor a list of the 150 guns she proposes to ban. Feinstein said the bill will include money for voluntary gun buy-back programs – and she assured the mayors that no one would confiscate guns in private hands.

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Mayors Villaraigosa and Bloomberg to talk gun control Friday — separately (UPDATED)

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa included comments on gun control in his speech earlier this week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

UPDATE: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will not appear with NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Friday press conference as originally scheduled. A Villaraigosa spokesman gave no reason for the change of plans. L.A.'s mayor will discuss gun control on two cable news channels Friday.

ORIGINAL STORY: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa teams up with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting Friday in Washington to target gun violence. The mayors say they will keep the pressure on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban and other gun control measures.

Villaraigosa also wants stronger background checks, data bases for the mentally ill, and Congressional approval of a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Earlier this week, at the National Press Club, Villaraigosa attacked members of Congress and others who use the Constitution as an excuse not to act, saying: "They use the Second Amendment to defend the unconscionable, to defend what’s wrong, to defend what doesn’t make sense to the vast majority of us. And that’s the challenge."

Vice-President Joe Biden on Thursday asked the Conference of Mayors for help with the White House gun proposals.

Both California and New York already have an assault weapons ban. Villaraigosa co-authored California’s law when he was Assembly Speaker. Bloomberg has put up millions of his own dollars to support political candidates willing to tackle gun control issues. 

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Dianne Feinstein takes assault weapons ban to the people with petition

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) takes to Senate floor

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U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) says her proposed assault weapons ban isn't about taking away anyone's constitutional right to bear arms.

Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has promised to re-introduce an assault weapons ban when the new Congress is sworn in. But she's not waiting until January to push for public support.

Senator Feinstein has sent out an e-mail blast, asking supporters to sign a petition to back her ban on assault weapons. Feinstein says she wants to show "how much public support is behind" such a ban.

Feinstein says it isn't about taking away anyone's constitutional right to bear arms: "This is about removing weapons of war from our businesses, movie theaters and schools."

Feinstein was the author of a previous assault weapons ban passed by Congress in 1993. It expired in 2004. She says the new bill will be a stronger version of the earlier law, proposing to ban the sale, importation, transfer or possession of new assault weapons. It will also ban high-capacity clips, magazines, and strips that hold more than 10 bullets. 

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Dianne Feinstein poised to be new head of Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) takes to Senate floor

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U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks to members of the media after a hearing on the Benghazi attack last month. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The death of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye has unlocked the seniority door at the U.S. Senate.  

California Senator Dianne Feinstein could jump committee chairs, putting her in a position to influence major legislation on gun control and immigration.

Feinstein currently serves as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which meets behind closed doors and only speaks formally to the news media once year. She also sits on the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy.

But the death of Senator Inouye means there is an opening at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Leahy is next in line. Leahy said he'll decide Wednesday whether he wants to move over from Judiciary to Appropriations. And next in line at Judiciary is Dianne Feinstein.

Feinstein would be poised as Judiciary chair to champion two issues close to her heart: immigration and gun control.

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