Transcript: Sen. Dianne Feinstein on "Face the Nation," Oct. 8, 2017

"Face the Nation" sat down with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, to discuss the Las Vegas shooting, gun legislation on Capitol Hill and more

What follows is a transcript of the interview, which aired Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, on "Face the Nation."


JOHN DICKERSON: We turn now to the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas. Senator Dianne Feinstein joins us from San Francisco. Senator, you're supporting a bill that would ban these bump fire stocks. Do you have any Republican support for that bill? 

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: We have Republican interest. I have nobody lined up, we have 38 cosponsors, they're all Democratic. We've had individuals that have indicated an interest and particularly for a hearing.

JOHN DICKERSON: The NRA put out a statement on Thursday suggesting they would support looking into regulations that would keep these bump fire stocks from being sold. What did you make of that position?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I thought that's a step forward, and it's appreciate – it's appreciated. Regulations aren't going to do it. We need a law. It can't be changed by another president. Right now we're seeing one president change actions of a – of a president that came before him, and that would happen in this area. And I hope that Americans will step up and say, "Enough is enough. Congress, do something."

JOHN DICKERSON: What do you make of increased sales of bump fire stocks in wake of this shooting and then now legislation?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: See, I don't know what to make of it. What this event said – this is a well-to-do man, he wasn't mentally ill. Um, he wasn't a criminal, he wasn't a juvenile, he wasn't gang banger, and he was able to buy 40 weapons over a period of time, have 12 bump stocks, line them up, break through two windows in his hotel suite, and take aim at tens of thousands -- well I guess over a thousand people at a concert. And this was such a cross section of America that it really struck at every one of us, that this could happen to you. And we want to stop it.

JOHN DICKERSON: Could there have been any law passed that would've stopped him?  

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: No, he passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions.

JOHN DICKERSON: One of the things that's been a part of this debate is some people, right after this massacre, called for more gun regulation, said something must be done, blamed the NRA. And what gun rights advocates heard is they heard that – that call for something to be done and what they – what they heard in that is people essentially saying, "We want to ban semi-automatic weapons."

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, that's just plain wrong. This is written in clean English, you can take a look at it, I'll send a copy of it. It's a two page bill, I'll send a copy of it to anyone who calls our office, and you can look at it yourself. It does not take anyone's gun.

JOHN DICKERSON: From the other side, those who would like to restrict guns in America, who hear a bill targeted as you've described it narrowly at this idea – at bump fire stocks – and say, "The only way to stop this kind of situation in America is to ban these kinds of semi-automatic weapons, and weapons that can fire with rapidity, and anything short of that is insufficient." What do you say to those people?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I agree with them to a great extent. What I don't – because, as you know, I did the assault weapons legislation in 1993, which was law of the land for 10 years. So I believe, I mean I've watched this thing from the Texas bell tower to today, in schools, in businesses, in workplaces. No one appears to be safe anywhere.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask your – get your thoughts on another piece of legislation. The NRA has mentioned, in response to this shooting, they've talked about passing the concealed carry reciprocity, which essentially allows somebody who has a concealed carry permit in one state to carry it throughout all other states the way, say, a driver's license would work. What's your opinion of that bill which is in the Senate?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, my opinion of that bill is it's terrible. We want every American to feel comfortable packing a concealed weapon around the country? I represent 40 million Californians, and I can say without hesitation Californians do not want concealed carry.

JOHN DICKERSON: If they say, though, that this is a right protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution, why is it California who gets to deny people the exercise of that right?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't believe that it is protected by the Constitution to conceal it without a permit.

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, in this case they would say if you had permit in one state, then that permit would be honored by the other states, again, like they say the way a license would be for driving.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I'm saying that the state I represent would not want any part of that, nor should any American. You just make the situation worse. You let somebody with a weapon who may do you harm get close to you. Why would you want that?

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me switch here to another topic for you, which is the Senate Intelligence Committee work that you've been doing. Chairman Burr of that committee said that the question of collusion between the Russians trying to influence the election and the Trump campaign was still an open question. Is that because there's more disclosures that suggest it's a possibility, or just because nothing's been found yet, and it's an open question because there's no proof that it's happened?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I think the latter. It's an open question because there's no proof yet that it's happened, and I think that proof will likely come with Mr. Mueller's investigation. He's got the ability to use a grand jury. He's got the ability to use the power of subpoena without question. And he's got the ability to do a criminal investigation. And that's what's going on, and I think that's where the information will come.

What happens in a political body, and I am finding this as the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, everything has to be negotiated with the party in power, and it's very difficult to do an investigation under those circumstances.

JOHN DICKERSON: Final question, senator. The president is thinking about decertifying the Iranian nuclear deal, which means he would essentially kick it over to Congress and say, "Congress, you can sanction Iran again or add new sanctions, which would break the deal." If Congress did nothing, the deal would essentially remain intact. What do you think the appetite is in Congress for more sanctions on Iran?

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I'll tell you this, John. Yesterday, or day before yesterday now, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, we had a very complete intelligence briefing on Iran. There is no question but that Iran has complied with the strictures of the deal, and when either IAEA found something, or anyone else found something, it was quickly remedied if there was a glitch. So they have cooperated, I think, 100 percent.

I think the greatest ramification from this would be to really create a crisis with North Korea, because it would give North Korea reason to believe, "Well, nothing the Republicans do can you trust." When you have, um, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States all agreeing to support something, and then the United States goes through an election, the new president pulls us out, what does that say?

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Senator Feinstein thanks so much for being with us.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Thank you John.