If Democrats really want gun control, Sen. Dianne Feinstein needs to stay in office

If Sen. Dianne Feinstein has any hope of restoring the national ban on assault weapon sales — or passing any gun controls — she needs to help Democrats reform the Senate filibuster. She has been reluctant. And if California’s liberal Democrats want Congress to regulate mass-killer weapons and require universal background checks of all gun buyers, they should stop pressing the centrist Feinstein to resign before her term expires in 2024. If the so-called progressives had their way, the Senate would lose its No. 1 advocate for firearms regulation. There never has been a better congressional fighter for gun control than California’s senior senator, at least since she was elected in 1992. Risking her political career, Feinstein finessed an assault weapons ban through Congress in 1994. It’s one reason she was nearly beaten running for reelection that year. Anti-gun-control voters, though a minority in California, are intense and turned out in large numbers trying to oust her. To secure the ban’s passage, Feinstein agreed to a 10-year “sunset.” The legislation expired in 2004, and Congress refused to renew it. Now, after back-to-back deadly mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado, Feinstein is proposing to restore the ban. It would be a mild version compared with California’s tough law. Feinstein’s would prohibit the sale, transfer and manufacture of military-style assault weapons nationwide. But owners could keep guns they already possess.

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