The Washington Times - January 27, 2013, 09:43AM

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who has emerged as the leading proponent in Congress of tough new gun regulations in the wake of last month’s Newtown, Conn., school shootings, defended her proposed assault weapons ban on Sunday.

Mrs. Feinstein, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” conceded that the assault-weapons-ban legislation she introduced in the Senate on Thursday faces long odds.


“This has always been an uphill fight … this is the hardest of the hard,” she said. 

She said her new gun-control proposals have broad-based support among mayors, police chiefs and others, but she acknowledged the National Rifle Association has the power to derail the movement.  

“I concede because the NRA is venal,” she told host Candy Crowley. The powerful collective of gun owners is no longer a grass-roots organization, Mrs. Feinstein said. “The NRA has become an institution of gun manufacturers.”

But the shootings in Newtown were a turning point, she said. 

“For me, Sandy Hook was an epiphany … this was a young man, he knew weapons, he knew how to use weapons.”