Feinstein's Last Hurrah

March 19th, 2013

Negotiations are still underway in the Senate for a unified package of gun-control bills to be introduced next month. One conspicuous piece of legislation that will not be part of it is S. 150, Dianne Feinstein's revised Assault Weapons Ban.

Majority Leader Harry Reid excised S. 150 in a meeting on Monday. His rationale was,

Right now her amendment, by the most optimistic measures, has less than 40 votes. I am not going to put something on the floor that can’t succeed.

Does that mean it's dead? No. Feinstein can still reintroduce it as an amendment to another bill. Though it's doubtful she'll get the votes for it, she's sworn to bring it to a vote one way or another.

What's becoming obvious is that Reid has an eye on the 2014 midterms, and he's feeling the heat. He can push a more "moderate" bill to appease the Democratic base while pointing out that he opposed more "extreme" bills like S. 150. This way, he and others can tell their constituents they're supporting the 2nd Amendment while keeping their foot in the door.

Chuck Schumer's Fix Gun Checks Act is still in the wild for now, and its fate is unclear.

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