EL PASO, Texas - A move to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was launched on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, introduced a bill that would restrict access to 150 different high-power weapons, including the Bushmaster assault rifle that was used in the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, which resulted in the deaths of 20 children.
It's considered one of the stiffest pieces of gun-control legislation to emerge in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Unlike the 1994 law banning assault weapons, which Feinstein helped pass, this new piece of legislation would be a permanent ban. But this does not mean gun owners in possession of those guns would be in violation of the the law.
"We are not trying to seize anyone's guns," Feinstein was quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. "The purpose is to dry up the supply of weapons."
Feinstein is being vilified by the National Rifle Association. The Daily News reports that the NRA said the California senator is trying to curtail the Constitution. But many Capitol Hill pundits don't feel the bill has enough support to pass. The Daily News reports that it doesn't have any Republican backing, and Democrats from gun rights-friendly states are silently opposing it.
The same day the federal assault weapons ban was introduced, an opposite reaction of sorts came from the Texas legislature. A Republican lawmaker has filed a bill that would allow Texans to openly carry handguns in public places.
Texarkana Rep. George Lavender's bill would allow people who hold concealed handgun licenses to also carry their weapons openly in public. Otherwise the license holder must follow the same rules they have to follow with concealed handguns.
Lavender tried to pass a similar bill in 2011, but in never came up for a final vote in the Texas House.