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Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 12:00pm
(CNN) — Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein will have a "bunch of assault weapons on display" this morning when she unveils her new assault weapons ban, including a Bushmaster rifle, Democratic sources tell CNN.
Part of Feinstein's goal is to convince opponents of an assault weapons ban – especially conservative Democrats – that these weapons are not necessary for average citizens to own.
Feinstein's office "coordinated completely" with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police for the display, CNN is told.
Feinstein, and several other Democratic lawmakers, are expected to introduce the gun control legislation Thursday–the first such measure since a December shooting rampage in Newton, Connecticut left 27 people dead, in addition to the gunman.
The measure, which is expected to face a tough slog in the Republican-controlled House and pushback from moderate Senate Democrats, would update the assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004.
The bill would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles as well as ammunition devices that accept more than 10 rounds. The measure includes a grandfathered clause for weapons owned before the bill passed as well as other hunting, sporting, antique, manually operated and disabled weapons.
President Barack Obama had previously urged Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and the White House has said it supports Feinstein's measure.
The president also signed 23 executive actions - which don't require congressional approval - to strengthen existing gun laws. They also take related steps on mental health and school safety.
The National Rifle Association, the country's leading gun lobby, has vowed to push back against any legislative efforts they see as curtailing American freedoms.
According to a CNN/Time Magazine/ORC International poll, 56% support a ban on semi-automatic guns, but that's down from 62% in a CNN poll taken in the days after the shooting in Connecticut. The same is true for a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips – 62% in December, down to 58% now – as well as a requirement for all gun owners to register their firearms with the local government – 78% last month, down to 69% now.