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Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears on Face the Nation
CBS NEWS' "FACE THE NATION" INTERVIEW WITH SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA)
 
FEINSTEIN ON DEBATE OVER BANNING GUN SALES TO PEOPLE ON TERROR WATCH LIST: 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Oh, please.  (LAUGH) First of all, I'm saying that the great overwhelming part of this list, 99.5% are foreigners.  They come in, there's reason for them to be suspect.  They'll go through the same appeal process anybody else goes through.  I don't think there's any need to give them any special privilege on an appeals list. If their name is pinged and the Attorney General's Office looks into it and makes a decision that there is compelling evidence, not necessarily probably cause, which is Cornyn's, but reasonable suspicion that this could be a terrorist threat, they can deny the weapon.

FEINSTEIN SAYS CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES EMBEDDED WITH NRA:
  DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Let me tell you what the problem is and let me just be very candid. I debated Wayne LaPierre 24 years ago on the assault weapons legislation.  I just ran into him leaving your set.  I deeply believe that these weapons of war don't belong on the streets.  And I've tried now three times, the question comes, "How deeply embedded are members of the Senate and the House to the National Rifle Association?" Because you will never be able to meet what the National Rifle Association wants and achieve anything. 
 
***FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW***

JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to Face The Nation, we are joined now by Democratic Senator, Dianne Feinstein.  Senator, I want to start with what Wayne LaPierre was saying.  He was saying that in these investigations into anybody who's on one of these lists, when they go to buy a gun, if it is pinged, and they -- that investigations might be interrupted by this system.  And the Director of the F.B.I., Mr. Comey, said that that was a problem.
 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, we have worked with the Justice Department in drafting this legislation and the Justice has sent a letter supporting it and said that it gives them a new tool.  I do not believe Mr. LaPierre is correct on this.  But let me say this, John.  This is really a national security issue.
 
It isn't a gun control issue.  And let me explain why.  The F.B.I. has about 1,000 ongoing investigations.  John Brennan told the Intelligence Committee on Thursday in open hearing that ISIL is actively pursuing operations to commit attacks in the West and bring people into Western countries, whether it's through immigration, whether it's over the border or in any other way.  The fact of the matter is that it's well known that
a terrorist could come into this country. They do not- they're not on the NICS list, which is the database of ten situations where you can deny a gun.  They're not there, and therefore, buy a gun legally in this country.  What this legislation does is gives the Attorney General the authority that if there is reasonable suspicion that the person, when they do the background check, is a potential terrorist, the gun sale can be denied.  It also has an appeal process, an administrative appeal process, as well as a legal process.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: So that law, though, in this case, Omar Mateen wasn't on any list when the purchase was made.
 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Omar Mateen would have been picked up by this.  Senators Leahy and Nelson gave us an addition, which is very helpful because he was under investigation.  There is a part of our bill that would cover him, as well.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: So if you have been under investigation over some period of time, you would trigger--
 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: That's correct.

JOHN DICKERSON: And what's the time period there?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: There is no time period.

JOHN DICKERSON: So if you've ever been looked at by the F.B.I.?
 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: That's correct.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, so then what about the fact that somebody could be looked at and, you know, maybe the F.B.I. got it wrong, so now they never can buy a firearm?
 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, that doesn't mean that they would be subject to being pinged, they would look at it.

JOHN DICKERSON: I see.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: And I think, you know, as we look at life as it is today and the possibility of attack, and we hear in Judiciary, we hear in Intelligence, the F.B.I., it's investigation after investigation.  And if you consider the fact that over 500 arrests and convictions for providing material
support or conspiring or one of these things has occurred, you know that these things are going on. And the only way we have of stopping them is good intelligence, plus a kind of net that will pick up foreigners.  On the watch list, and this is important, 99.9% are foreign.  Less than a half of 1% are Americans.  So this, essentially, is the watch list which covers the no fly list, the selectee list and others.  It is mainly foreign, a name given by foreign intelligence agencies, foreign law enforcement officers, plus our own.
                                                                                                                               
JOHN DICKERSON: You mentioned the appeals process.  One of the criticisms of this is that this is a list kept for a different reason.  The people - it's now being used.  And there are lots of people on that list, it's poorly kept, they shouldn't be on there.  Nobody really knows how to get off the list.  That there's what people call "a due process problem" here.  How do you solve that?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Yeah, we provide due process.  There is administrative appeal and you can go to a court.  And you, you - that's the traditional appeal and that is available in these cases.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: But will it be easy?  I mean, we're talking about basically a right guaranteed by the Constitution, so that's denied by an appeals process that people can get lost in.  What guarantees can you give people that they would be able to get off this list quickly?
 
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Oh, please.  (LAUGH) First of all, I'm saying that the great overwhelming part of this list, 99.5% are foreigners.  They come in, there's reason for them to be suspect.  They'll go through the same appeal process anybody else goes through.  I don't think there's any need to give them any special privilege on an appeals list. If their name is pinged and the Attorney General's Office looks into it and makes a decision that there is compelling evidence, not necessarily probably cause, which is Cornyn's, but reasonable suspicion that this could be a terrorist threat, they can deny the weapon.
 
JOHN DICKERSON: You mentioned Senator Cornyn's Bill, is that your disagreement on the Republican side?  That the standard, explain what the problem is.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Yeah.  The standard is too high because you can just arrest the person.
                                                                                               
JOHN DICKERSON: Right.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: So that would cut out a lot of people who are probable threats.  And it has to be completed within three days, which Justice and others tell us is impossible to complete the process within three days.
                                                                                               
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you this:  The President has called for what he calls the assault weapons ban to be reinstate in the wake of this massacre.  Where are you on this?  That obviously is legislation you are responsible for.  Can it come back?  Are you working to bring it back?
                                                                                               
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, we wrote the bill that passed in 1993, was law for ten years.  After Sandy Hook, we wrote a modified bill and it just, it didn't pass.  I think Senators Murphy and Booker and Blumenthal and Bennett and others who went to the floor made a very clear case to bring this back.  Let me tell you what the problem is and let me just be very candid. I debated Wayne LaPierre 24 years ago on the assault weapons legislation.  I just ran into him leaving your set.  I deeply believe that these weapons of war don't belong on the streets.  And I've tried now three times, the question comes, "How deeply embedded are members of the Senate and the House to the National Rifle Association?" Because you will never be able to meet what the National Rifle Association wants and achieve anything.  That will take the AR-15, the SIG Sauer, and every year there's a new weapon more dangerous than the weapon that came before it.  So I think it's really the resolve of the people of America. 
82% of people by test see the national security concerns and say, "Yes, use this terrorist watch list.  Yes, give the Attorney General the right to stop a gun sale."
                                                                                               
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Senator Feinstein, thank you so much for being with us.                                                                                           
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Thank you, John.
                                                                                               
JOHN DICKERSON: And we'll be right back.
                     
***END OF TRANSCRIPT***
 
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