Jackie Speier calls for ban on import of assault weapons in wake of Leland Yee arrest

AP Photo/Tony AvelarRep. Jackie Speier has called the decline of the middle class in the Bay Area a crisis.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Peninsula Democrat, called on President Barack Obama on Wednesday to ban the import of assault weapons following last week’s high-profile arrest of state Sen. Leland Yee on gun-trafficking charges.

“This FBI investigation of Leland Yee reveals how easy it is to import lethal assault weapons that were previously banned,” Speier said in a statement. “This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm. Since Congress can pass no meaningful gun-control laws, even after the mass killing in Newtown, President Obama should use his pen to slow the import of these weapons, which have no place in our homes.”

Speier, D-Hillsborough, who held Yee’s Senate seat before the suspended state lawmaker was elected in 2006, has long been an outspoken advocate for gun control. She is the sponsor of the federal Gun Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 and the Child Handgun Safety Act of 2013, and co-sponsor of the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013.

Dave Workman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms called Speier’s statement “ironic” because it comes on the heels of Yee’s March 26 arrest on suspicion of conspiring to traffic in firearms, along with the arrest of 25 other defendants on gun-trafficking and other charges related to a yearslong undercover FBI investigation.

“I don’t see any reason for someone to propose a ban on perfectly legal firearms coming into the country where law-abiding citizens would be able to purchase and own those firearms for hunting, competition or for any number of good reasons,” Workman said.

According to Speier, a ban on imported assault weapons was first imposed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, which was supported by President Bill Clinton. The ban lapsed under President George W. Bush and continues to not be implemented, Speier said.

Speier represents California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

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