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Gun Control: Dianne Feinstein and the “Assault Weapons” Ban

by Howard Nemerov

“The Senators and Representatives shall … in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” – US Constitution, Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1.

It’s Okay to Lie In Congress

The preceding excerpt from the Constitution is our origin of what is called legislative immunity. It means that if Dianne Feinstein prefers to lie while carrying out her job as Senator, we cannot hold her liable. Furthermore, if her dishonest comments are quoted by the New York Times, it is given an aura of authority. If other newspapers use quotes from the NYT, often called the paper of record, in their own articles, pretty soon it becomes gospel truth, because you can read it just about anywhere.

Dianne Feinstein sent this in response to a request she uphold the very Constitution that protects her from arrest for using her position to lie about firearms.

“Thank you for writing to me about the Assault Weapons Ban. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.

In 1994, Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Bill, which was signed into law. One provision of this bill banned the manufacture, transfer, or possession of semi-automatic assault weapons for a preliminary period of ten years. Since 1994, it has become even clearer through chilling examples, such as the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and at the Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, that military-style assault weapons are a danger on our streets and to our children. Semi-automatic assault weapons which fire up to 250 rounds of ammunition within seconds and without warning are weapons of war that do not belong on the streets of our communities.”

She combines the terms “semi-automatic” and “assault weapons” together. True assault weapons, meaning military-grade firearms, are fully automatic, and have effectively been outlawed for civilians since the National Firearms Act of 1934, though you can still purchase one if you find an older version for sale and can pass a licensing review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. (Good luck, as the BATFE is decidedly anti-gun.)

In practice, the law focuses on guns which have cosmetic similarities to fully automatic military weapons. The term is so vague that the Fresno, California, District Attorney sued the state attorney general over the confusing state assault weapons ban. (1) “Assault weapons” is becoming so general a term that most semi-automatic handguns are included.

Let’s look at what she doesn’t say about the Columbine killers. The two murderers broke 19 existing laws, including using straw purchasers to buy guns for minors, manufacturing and possessing explosive devices, and manufacturing a sawed-off shotgun. (2)

She assumes that the two mass murderers would have been stymied by lack of available firearms and not seek out the black market. She also assumes they would not focus their efforts into making and installing more effective explosive devices, which would have raised the death toll.

The JCC murderer had also violated existing gun laws, being a felon on parole. As such, it was illegal to possess a firearm. (3)

The next Big Lie is “semi-automatic assault weapons which fire up to 250 rounds of ammunition within seconds.” Only fully automatic weapons are capable this type of dispersal, and they are rarely used in crime. (4)

Feinstein also ignores other pertinent facts:

Between 1977 and 1997, states with citizen-friendly Right to Carry (Shall Issue) laws averaged 25 fewer multiple victim murders than states that did not trust their tax-paying citizens the right of self-defense in public. (5)

In states without Shall Issue laws, there have been 15 school shootings between 1977 and 1995, but only one in Shall Issue states. The five school shootings in 1997-1998 occurred after the 1995 Gun-Free Zones law banned firearms within 1,000 feet of schools. (6)

These omissions highlight the manner in which gun control advocates seek to slant the discussion by omitting the costs of gun control laws, and ignoring the benefits of trained, law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights for self-defense and community protection.

Feinstein: “Unless acted upon by the United States Congress and President Bush, the assault weapons ban will expire, as scheduled, in September 2004. On May 5, 2003 I introduced a bill, S. 1034, which would reauthorize the assault weapons ban for another ten years. The success of this bill depends on support from the House, the Senate, and the Administration. President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft have both publicly stated their support for an extension of the ban, and I intend to hold them to their promise. Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to fight for this important legislation.”

Feinstein has warned us: call and write your Congressional representatives and tell them to stop any renewal or expansion of the 1994 Assault Weapons ban.

Gun Control Means Confiscation

“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it.” – Senator Dianne Feinstein, CBS-TV's 60 Minutes, February 5, 1995

Feinstein wants us to believe mass murderers would be stopped if law-abiding gun owners were disarmed. If gun-banners wanted only some “reasonable steps” to insure that people were protected from accidental gun death and gun violence, why are they still asking for more gun control after 20,000 gun laws? They cite new “loopholes” that allow criminals access to firearms. (7,8) They justify it with the mantra “If it saves one life, it’s worth it.” But they never factor in the costs of not owning a gun for personal protection, nor the lives saved because a physically weaker woman shot and killed the man who was stalking her with intent to kill, or the children who still have a mother. (9) Nor do they talk about the costs to society when civilian firearms are confiscated, such as what is happening in Britain. (10) Nor do they mention that no study has concluded that the 1994 Assault Weapons ban (17) or that gun control laws reduced crime. (18)

So why do they continue wanting more gun control?

Confiscation Leads to Mass Murder:

It is curious that law-abiding gun owners are considered guilty without any evidence showing their culpability in crime, but national governments, with ample evidence to the contrary, are still assumed to be the most able protectors of the people.

Rudolph J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of the University of Hawaii and author of numerous books on the depredations of governments, has a web site (13) packed with data covering what he calls democide: “The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.” (14)

Following are some facts relating to governments which disarmed their people as a prelude to democide.

“The Soviet Union appears the greatest mega-murderer of all, apparently killing near 61,000,000 people. Stalin himself is responsible for almost 43,000,000 of these.” (15)

“In sum the communists probably have murdered something like 110,000,000, or near two-thirds of all those killed by all governments, quasi-governments, and guerrillas from 1900 to 1987. (15)

Professor Rummel estimates over 35 million people were slaughtered by the Chinese Communists. (16)

“By genocide, the murder of hostages, reprisal raids, forced labor, "euthanasia," starvation, exposure, medical experiments, and terror bombing, and in the concentration and death camps, the Nazis murdered from 15,003,000 to 31,595,000 people…Among them 1,000,000 were children under eighteen years of age. And none of these monstrous figures even include civilian and military combat or war-deaths.” (17)

What Hitler, Mao, and Stalin all have in common is civilian disarmament. They banned the people’s guns first. Then, in their arrogance and self-righteousness, they began to remove the “undesirables.” These are only the most heinous examples. Professor Rummel documents the democide of over 170 million civilians in the 20th century, a common thread being civilian disarmament.

Via email interview, Professor Rummel reported a variation of confiscation: “For the Khmer Rouge, there was no general gun confiscation, but anyone found with one was murdered on the spot.” Khmer Rouge killed “only” 2 million. (18)

“[Include] Turkey's genocide of the Armenians and Greeks. Weapons were seized beforehand as part of the step-by-step implementation of what the Young Turks planned in the highest councils.” During the WWI era, Turkey murdered 1.5 million of its Armenian citizens. (18)


Every despot had a “reasonable” explanation for their power grab. Communism was supposed to free the little people from the depredations of nobility and industrialists. It ended up merely changing terms, from peasant to proletariat, murdering over 100 million along the way. Hitler wanted to create a superior human race. He ended up being instrumental in causing the deaths of tens of millions.

We are now faced with a reality check. There is no proof that civilian disarmament reduces crime. On the other hand, civilian disarmament is proven to lead to increased crime and genocide. Given the nature of those who seek to gather power unto themselves, there is no third option.

It is time for you to choose. Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to vote against any renewal of the 1994 assault weapons ban.

Howard Nemerov

(1) Fresno official sues the state over ban on assault weapons, Sean Scully, The Washington Times, November 5, 2001.

(2) High School Shooters Broke 19 Laws, Professor J.D. Crouch, April 29, 2000.

(3) Furrow pleads guilty to shootings, will avoid death penalty, get life without parole. CNN.com, January 24, 2001.

(4) Full Auto Weapons, GunCite.

(5) The Bias Against Guns, page 106, John Lott, 2003.

(6) Gun Facts Version 3.3, page 15. Guy Smith, 2003.
Go to http://www.gunfacts.info/ and select the format you prefer.

(7) The Gun Show Loophole, Americans for Gun Safety.

(8) Flashbunny.org provides instructional Flash video on the fantasy of the Gun Show Loophole. http://www.flashbunny.org/content/loophole.html

(9) A Clarksdale man was shot to death by a 12-year-old girl Saturday night as he allegedly attacked the girl's mother, police said. Jeff Piselli, Clarksdale Press Register, April 30, 2001.

(10) Gun Crime Rockets 35 Percent. Bob Roberts, UK Mirror, January 10, 2003.

(11) Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994-1996. National Institute of Justice, March 1999. http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/173405.pdf

(12) First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws, CDC Publication, November, 2002

(13) http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/

(14) http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DBG.CHAP2.HTM

(15) http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.ART.HTM

(16) China's Bloody Century By R.J. Rummel


(18) http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/WF.CHAP6.HTM

Former liberal and gun control proponent Howard Nemerov did his own research, and is now an ardent Second Amendment supporter who wonders why media and politicians don't tell the truth about guns. He appears regularly on ChronWatch. He can be reached at hnemerov@netvista.net.