Column: Sen. Feinstein proposes the well-awaited Assault Weapons Ban of 2017

The key provisions of the bill ban the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons.

Annie Jennemann is a freshman journalism and English major at MU. She is an opinions columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has proposed a bill that many have been waiting to see. On Nov. 8, Senator Feinstein introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. Ever since the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, when Stephen Paddock shot and killed 58 individuals at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, people around the country have been awaiting a resolution to this mass-shooting epidemic in America. Paddock used semiautomatic rifles modified to fire like automatic weapons. The modifications are called bump fire stocks. Citizens all over the country, including myself, have been wondering what our government will do to prevent further events from happening. Sen. Feinstein has taken a leap to begin the resolution.

According to Sen. Feinstein’s website, the key provisions of the bill ban the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons. It also bans any assault weapons that accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have a military characteristic, such as a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. In addition, the bill bans ammunition-feeding devices that hold 10 or more rounds at one time.

The bill does exempt more than 2,200 guns used for hunting, household defense and recreational purposes. It also includes a grandfather clause that exempts some weapons lawfully obtained.

In addition to the key provisions, background checks will be required for any of the weapons listed under the bill. Grandfathered weapons must be securely stored with a safety. Bump-fire stocks and other devices used to modify semiautomatic weapons to make them automatic are also banned.

“This bill won’t stop every mass shooting, but it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets,” Sen. Feinstein said in a statement. This is true; it is impossible to completely prevent any mass shooting from happening. However, there are steps to take in order to lower the rate of mass shootings.

It’s also important to note the lack of action taken after mass shootings, much like the massacre in Las Vegas, because of the thought that it’s not the right time to discuss gun control in the wake of such events. Sen. Feinstein disagreed.

“After each shooting, we’re told it’s not the right time to act,” she said in the statement. “We’re told to respect the victims by sitting on our hands. Well, the time for inaction is over.”

Clearly, Sen. Feinstein is ready to make a move on fighting this epidemic of mass shootings in the United States, and I stand by her. No person should be able to have access to any of the items listed under the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. Passing this bill is a step forward in preventing future mass shootings, an issue citizens should not have to worry about on a regular basis. We owe it to all of the victims of past mass shootings in America and their families to prevent similar events from taking place in the future.

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