Does Dianne Feinstein have a shot at passing more gun reforms?


Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s career has been defined by gun violence and her efforts to prevent it – from the double assassination that made her mayor of San Francisco, to a recall effort over her gun proposals, to yet another mass shooting at a college campus that took place just 17 hours before she announced her retirement Tuesday. She said that as she closes out her final year in office, she hopes to do more “to fight the epidemic of gun violence”  – but stakeholders and experts believe the prospects for further progress before the end of 2024 are dim.

Bilking all expectations, Congress passed bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation in 2022, the first successful gun control effort since Feinstein’s landmark assault weapons ban in 1994. But that was with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. With Republicans again in the House majority, more action is unlikely.

Feinstein acknowledged the uphill battle in a brief interview Wednesday. 

“There are a lot of things that can be done. The problem is: How do you get them done in a Congress that’s been antithetical to doing what can be done to retard the use of guns in this country?” Feinstein said. When the 1994 ban passed, “there was a willingness,” she said. “I don’t think that’s here now. If I sense it is, I will try and put forward some constructive legislation.”

Other lawmakers more explicitly blamed any lack of action on Republicans.

“It goes without saying, when you have a majority party in the House that is passing out AR-15 lapel pins to their members on the start of gun violence prevention week, that things are going to be tough in the policy lane for gun violence prevention,” Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, said. 

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