WASHINGTON – The conservative Turning Point USA posted a meme on Facebook of a quote purportedly from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein about her stance on gun control.
“If I could have gotten 51 votes for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, ‘Mr. and Mrs. America, turn em all in,’ I would have done it,” reads the Jan. 21 meme.
Feinstein made the statement in 1995 during an episode of “60 Minutes.” She appears to have been referring to assault-style weapons, not all guns.
The meme also included a quote from former Vice President Joe Biden that reads: “No law abiding citizen in the United States of America has any fear that their [2nd amendment] constitutional rights will be infringed in any way. None, zero.”
Biden made the statement while speaking at Western Connecticut State University in 2013. The meme added “2nd amendment” in brackets, as Biden was discussing gun control at the time of his remarks.
Some gun rights advocates have suggested that the quote is evidence of Feinstein’s desire to outlaw all guns. Her office disputed this characterization, citing an article from Politifact. “In reality, back in 1995, Feinstein said she wanted to take away all assault rifles,” reads the fact-check.
In December 1995, Feinstein made a similar statement on the Senate floor that was focused on assault-style weapons, not all guns. “If I had my way, I would ban the possession of assault weapons anywhere in the United States of America, but there were not going to be the votes for that,” she said.
Feinstein’s office also denied that she would like to see assault weapons confiscated. (In the “60 Minutes” interview, she described “picking up every one of them” and having Americans “turn ’em all in.”)
“‘Confiscation’ requires affirmative government possession, which she has never proposed,” a spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Feinstein has been one of the most vocal proponents of gun control in recent U.S. history. She was the architect behind the now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 that prohibited the manufacture of certain semi-automatic firearms and limited magazines to 10 rounds. The law included a grandfather clause for firearms and magazines manufactured prior to enactment of the legislation.
Feinstein and other Democrats introduced an updated version of the bill in 2019, which like its predecessor, would not affect firearms legally owned prior to enactment. The bill includes funds for a voluntary buy-back program for grandfathered firearms and magazines.
The senator has made statements in support of gun rights in the past. “Let me be clear: If an individual wants to purchase a weapon for hunting or self-defense, I support that right,” Feinstein wrote in a 2012 op-ed.
But she has also drawn opposition from gun rights groups. In 2014, she co-sponsored the Pause for Safety Act, which would have encouraged states to allow family members and others to seek a court order that would temporarily confiscate firearms from someone deemed to pose a threat of violence.
Feinstein argued that the measure would help prevent gun violence. “The bill would allow those who know the most about the condition of someone who poses a risk of committing violence to take steps to remove firearms from that individual’s possession,” she said in a statement.
However, gun rights advocates expressed concern over whether such policies could be abused by law enforcement.
“In our view, that provision has the potential to get nearly anyone’s guns taken away for what could be spurious reasons,” U.S. & Texas LawShield, a group of lawyers who advocate for gun rights, said at the time. “And, as always, there will be a legal fight to get confiscated guns back, which will be expensive and time consuming, even if the authorities are wrong.”