Feinstein seeks to alter Senate gun bill

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a reputation as one of the most anti-Second Amendment lawmakers on Capitol Hill. While there are others trying to give her a run for the title, she has a long anti-gun history that will be hard for anyone to overcome.

You’d think that with all her years in the Senate and seeing a pathway she prefers being closed off, she’d be thrilled to see any gun control show up in that chamber.

And, to be fair, I’m sure she is.

However, that doesn’t mean she’s unwilling to try and change the bill.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today filed the Age 21 Act as an amendment to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the gun violence prevention bill pending before the Senate. The amendmentwould raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines from 18 to 21.

Senator Feinstein reintroduced the Age 21 Act on May 19, five days after the massacre at a Buffalo supermarket and five days before the school shooting in Uvalde, each of which involved an 18-year-old who legally purchased an assault rifle.

 “The Senate gun safety bill is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the major problem of teenagers owning weapons of war,” said Senator Feinstein. “It makes no sense that it’s illegal for someone under 21 to buy a handgun or even a beer, yet can legally buy an assault weapon.  My amendment is a commonsense fix with broad public support that should receive bipartisan backing and I hope that it’s allowed a vote.”

My reaction upon reading this? I couldn’t help but think of Darth Vader’s whole “I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further” thing.

Now, what are the odds of this actually making it onto the bill? I’m going to guess they’re actually very slim. The deal, as it stands now, is rather precarious. Adding something like this will likely scuttle the bill entirely, making it unpalatable to all of the Republicans in that chamber, including those who reached the initial agreement.

After all, if this was doable, it would have been part of the deal in the first place since it was probably on the table at the start of negotiations. The fact that it’s not in the final package is pretty telling.

Yet Feinstein wants to put this amendment in the bill, changing it, and for what?

The truth is that I don’t see this amendment even getting a vote. Why? Because I can see Republicans voting for this amendment and thus scuttling the deal completely.

That kind of thing can happen, especially when you know good and well that not only will pretty much every Republican in the chamber vote against it, but you may lose support from someone like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.

Additionally, there’s the fact that there’s no reason to believe that this amendment would actually accomplish anything. We have numerous examples of underage mass shooters who steal weapons from family members as it is. Raising the age won’t actually change that, either. It’ll just make it so older killers will have to steal guns, too.

So literally the only thing Feinstein’s amendment could accomplish is killing the Senate bill.

You’d think someone who’d been in the Senate that long would recognize that.