Feinstein’s Defense of Her ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban: I Feel, Therefore I Legislate

Senate Judiciary CommitteeSenate Judiciary CommitteeThe
between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.) about the constitutionality of her proposed
ban on “assault weapons” at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee
meeting nicely illustrated a
familiar pattern
in which people who favor new gun restrictions
respond to challenges with
emotion-laden non sequiturs
. Feinstein, who admonished Cruz for
treating her like “a sixth-grader,” later
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “I just felt patronized. I felt he was
somewhat arrogant about it.” If you watch the video at the end of
this post, you can judge for yourself whether Cruz seemed
patronizing or arrogant. But the question he posed was perfectly
fair: Given that the Second Amendment protects an individual right
to arms, just as the First Amendment protects an individual right
to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, isn’t telling people
they may not possess certain guns analogous to telling them they
may not possess certain books? In both cases, people retain
most of the right guaranteed by the Constitution, but
in the First Amendment context that has never been deemed enough
for a restriction to pass muster. Feinstein proudly cites the list
of more than 2,000 gun models specifically exempted from her ban as
evidence that it does not violate the Second Amendment, which Cruz
suggested is rather like publishing a list of officially permitted
titles as evidence that a book ban does not not violate the First

Feinstein could have responded by citing a constitutionally
relevant distinction between the guns she wants to ban and the guns
she would allow, but since
there is no such distinction
she resorted to bluster:

Let me just make a couple of points in response. One, I’m not a
sixth-grader. Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I
was a mayor for nine years. I walked in. I saw people shot. I’ve
looked at bodies that had been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen
the bullets that implode [sic].

You can read the rest of this article at: http://reason.com/blog/2013/03/15/feinsteins-defense-of-her-assault-weapon