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Senator Unveils Bill to Limit Semiautomatic ArmsFri, 25 Jan, 2013 | Posted By: The Times Of Earth (TOE)

Senator Unveils Bill to Limit Semiautomatic Arms Senator Dianne Feinstein announced plans at a news conference on Thursday to introduce a bill that would outlaw a large number of different assault weapons.

The bill, which Ms. Feinstein introduced in the Senate later in the afternoon, would exempt firearms used for hunting and would grandfather in certain guns and magazines. The goal of the bill, she said, is “to dry up the supply of these weapons over time.”

Surrounded by victims of gun violence, colleagues in the Senate and House and several law enforcement officials, and standing near pegboards with several large guns attached, Ms. Feinstein acknowledged the difficulty in pursuing such legislation, even when harnessing the shock and grief over the shooting of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., last month. “This is really an uphill road,” Ms. Feinstein said.

Since the expiration of a ban on assault weapons in 2004, lawmakers have been deeply reluctant to revisit the issue. They cite both a lack of evidence that the ban was effective and a fear of the gun lobby, which has made significant inroads at the state and federal levels over the past decade in increasing gun rights.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, recently said that he was skeptical about the bill. Ms. Feinstein immediately called him to express her displeasure with his remarks.

Many lawmakers, including some Democrats, prefer more modest measures to curb gun violence, like enhanced background checks of gun buyers or better enforcement of existing laws.

One such measure has been introduced by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who will begin hearings next week on gun violence. Among the witnesses will be Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association.

“Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades,” said Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for Mr. LaPierre. “It’s disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals or fixing our broken mental health system.”

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