There’s news today that the Senate Democrats have chosen not to include Senator Feinstein’s cherished “Assault Weapons Ban” proposal in the gun control bills to be brought before the Senate. But before you go cheering the “big win” against what might be the stupidest law I’ve ever seen in my life, there’s a good chance that it will rise from the grave to attack other bills, leaving a wake of destruction in its path.
While the official AWB may be dead, there’s nothing stopping Dianne Feinstein from trying to tack it onto every piece of legislation she can find to try and turn it into law.
There’s little doubt that Senator Feinstein is on her last legs as a politician. She’s getting on in years, and won’t be around to haunt the Senate chambers much longer. There’s already some talk that another vehemently anti-gun politician from California will take her place in the next election, continuing the tradition of California trying to expand their failed gun control laws to the national scale.
With her impending retirement, Senator Feinstein is appearing to be worrying about her legacy. So far, the only thing she is really known for is serving as president of the board in San Fransisco when Harvey Milk was assassinated, and her failed 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which is generally considered to have done nothing to stop violent crime. She’s looking for something to leave a lasting impact on the U.S. government, and the new sunset-free AWB is what she appears to have fixated upon.
Right now, the AWB has the best chance of passage. Standing on the bodies of dead schoolchildren and waiving the bloody shirt, she can wrangle the best emotional argument possible for passing the law. Even so, she has been blocked by her own party from advancing her bill to the Senate floor. Its a body blow to her legacy, and one she probably isn’t going to take lying down.
If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, I look forward to watching as Senator Feinstein will try repeatedly in the next few months to tack on her AWB to every piece of legislation with a good chance of passage. Nothing will be safe, like a zombie trying to claw its way out of a deep grave it will try to latch onto whatever it can find. And every single time, Senate Democrats will be forced to show their true colors as they vote down the amendment or risk the ire of their Republican leaning constituents.
Although Feinstein refused to label her measure “dead”— “I don’t give up,” she said — she sounded an unusually pessimistic note about its chances after conferring with Reid, who informed her that he would not bring the bill to the floor as a stand-alone measure. The Judiciary Committee passed the assault weapons ban on a party line vote on March 14.
The AWB isn’t dead. And there are still a good number of “feel good but do nothing to help” gun control laws on the horizon, despite the best efforts of my new favorite Senator Ted Cruz. Reminds me of Churchill’s quote about this being the end of the beginning.