National/World

Dianne Feinstein defends assault weapons ban initiatives

Monday, April 22, 2013
Sen. Dianne Feinstein believes Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should not be classified as an enemy combatant.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California appeared on ''Fox News Sunday'' to update viewers on the investigation into the Boston bombing and answer questions about her recent sponsorship of an assault weapons ban that quietly failed in the Senate last week with other firearms-related proposals.

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Feinsten said alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been shot through the throat and bad a tube through his airway to breathe.

"He can't talk now. So there is time to do the investigation, to make a clear assessment, and to move from there. So I really regret all of this discussion, which is creating a conflict that need not be there. The administration is ready for this," Feinstein said. "There is ample evidence, fingerprinted, I understand, direct testimony from one of the people that had his legs blown off, that he recognized him. They admitted to the driver of the car that they hijacked that they were the bombers. So I think there's going to be a great deal of evidence put together to be able to convict him, and it should likely be a death penalty case under federal law. I believe that the federal competence in doing this at this time is extraordinary."

Feinstein said she believes the Boston bombing suspect should not be classified as an enemy combatant. Feinstein says it would be unconstitutional. She said she is confident a solid case can be made for the death penalty without it.

If Tsarnaev is classified as an enemy combatant he could be held indefinitely without trial. Supporters of the classification believe Tsarnaev may have information about terrorists they can extract from him. Feinstein trumpeted the expertise of the FBI.

"I believe that they will put a case together that will be very strong. With respect to whether we are doing enough in the Muslim community, I think we should take a look at that. But I don't think we need to go and develop some real disdain and hatred on television about it," Feinstein said.

Feinstein was also asked, after such a tragedy, about continuing the fight again assault weapons.

"You could use a 12-gauge shotgun and have a good defensive effect. And there's the element of surprise. Now, you've got police all over the place in Watertown, so I don't really think that this is applicable. I think there are people that want to make this argument, but a 12-gauge shotgun, there are many weapons, 2,000-plus weapons that are available to people for choice without an assault weapon," Feinstein said.

Along with Feinstein's assault weapons ban, proopsals to limit high-capacity magazine sales, more extensvie background checks on gun purchases, and other purchasing restrictions all failed Wednesday in the Senate.

KGO-TV contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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