Dianne Feinstein praises #NationalSchoolWalkout teens, pushes gun reforms

The Democratic senator urges gun reform and proposes solutions to prevent more bloodshed.

Published March 14, 2018 2:13PM (EDT)

Dianne Feinstein (Getty/Alex Wong)
Dianne Feinstein (Getty/Alex Wong)

The kids are alright — and leading the nation.

As students across the country walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes — in memory of the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — politicians are amplifying their message to enact common-sense gun reforms.

One of those politicians was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who penned an op-ed urging lawmakers to listen to the teens who are demanding change.

The senator debunked popular myths and conspiracies surrounding gun legislation and called out Republicans for their inaction. "Banning assault weapons won't prevent all school shootings, but contrary to Republican talking points, we already know that banning these military-style weapons does reduce mass killing of six people or more."

Feinstein insisted that "a good guy with a gun" is not the solution to stopping "a bad guy with a gun." She recalled the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, writing, "Tell that to the 49 people killed . . . where an armed guard was on duty and unable to prevent the murders."

Feinstein did not mention here that an armed officer, who was assigned to protect students at Douglas high school, took a defensive post and failed to act while the shooter was inside killing students and teachers.

She also criticized the idea of arming teachers, asking, "How can we expect teachers, who already have too much on their plates, to undergo the same training as law enforcement officials and be able to confront killers with AR-15s?"

Feinstein proposed several solutions to prevent more bloodshed.

Her first goal was to get "military-style assault weapons such as the AR-15 off the streets." She pushed for the Assault Weapons Ban, which would outlaw more than 200 weapons and "any other weapons that accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic."

Other items for the chopping block include high capacity magazines. Feinstein pointed to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 26 people, including 20 children, dead, and the shooting at a Las Vegas music festival, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, which resulted in the death of 59 people and left more than 500 others wounded. What these mass shootings — and the gunmen — have in common, she argues, is access to these military-grade weapons. "In Las Vegas, the shooter fired 1,100 rounds in just 10 minutes — 110 rounds per minute," she wrote.

Feinstein supported raising the age limit for purchasing firearms and strengthening  background checks for gun ownership.  "None of the above will make a difference unless we improve the background check system by ensuring that states and federal agencies submit required records and ensure that all sales — not just those at federally licensed  licensed dealers — require a background check," she wrote.

Finally, she hoped to "help states establish a court process to allow family members and law enforcement to petition to bar someone from purchasing or processing weapons."

In honor of the one month anniversary of the Parkland shooting and in solidarity with the thousands of students advocating for gun control reform, the senator is campaigning for change today on the Senate floor, along with other Democratic senators. Whether the country will actually change on this issue is anyone's guess.

By Shira Tarlo

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Dianne Feinstein Gun Control Gun Violence National School Walkout Day Parkland Shooting