Top Democrat will seek new gun law in next Congress

by Michael O'Brien, NBC News  |  published on December 17, 2012

Assault Weapons

Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut prompted a renewed effort by lawmakers to re-evaluate gun rights, as a top Democrat vowed Sunday to introduce new legislation on the first day of the new Congress next year.

The massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. left 28 dead, including 20 students, seven adults and the suspected shooter, leading proponents of gun control to redouble their efforts to seek new regulations. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate of gun control, said the issue should now be atop President Barack Obama’s second term agenda.

To that end, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D, said she intended to introduce a gun control bill on the first day of the next Congress. Paired with a twin version in the House, Feinstein’s law would take aim at limiting the sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons, along with the capacity of high-capacity magazines.

“It can be done,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The senator, a proponent of gun control, said she expected Obama to offer his public support for the law.

A federal ban on assault weapons, first passed in 1994 and signed by President Bill Clinton, expired in 2004. And while Obama has said he favors its reinstatement, the administration has hardly thrown its weight behind such a proposal during his first term.

The especially grisly shooting in Connecticut — which follows several other high-profile shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and outside a Sikh temple in Wisconsin — might now serve as a catalyzing moment in that dormant gun debate.

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