Letter of California: Feinstein’s Shot-heard-round-the-world
This past week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released a 525-page summary of the Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s treatment of its detainees.
Although, the report was heralded as information that could endanger the lives of our military personnel serving overseas, Feinstein moved forward with the release of the report.
Feinstein even tacitly acknowledged that the release of the report was troublesome when she indicated that while it was true that the report was going out in a period of turmoil and instabilit’ in many corners of the world: “That’s going to continue for the foreseeable future whether this report is released or not.”
What would cause the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to risk lives and potentially increase the turmoil and violence in the world?
I believe that Feinstein is hoping to leave a lasting impression on California, the U.S., and perhaps the world.
It is no secret that this is most likely the 81-year-old Feinstein’s last term in office. She is up for re-election in 2016. It’s also no secret that 59 percent of registered voters in California reported that they wanted new candidates and would be better off if that occurred, according to a recent USC Dormslife/Los Angeles Times poll. So, Feinstein may have no choice but to retire.
While Feinstein is not a president who is generally concerned with leaving a legacy in history that others can admire for generations to come, I believe, nonetheless, that Feinstein wants to leave a legacy of her own.
Originally, Feinstein may have wanted to leave an imprint on the world as a champion of gun control.
Feinstein has worked throughout most of her political career as a gun control advocate who, at every opportunity, has attempted to diminish citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment. She is proud of her record and I believe, wants to be remembered in California and the United States, as one who fought hard for the banning of guns.
She wasted no time after taking office in 1992, in authoring an anti-gun bill with two other Democrats in 1993. As a result, many semi-automatic firearms deemed “assault weapons” were banned and restrictions on the sale of normal capacity magazines were enacted.
When the ban was scheduled to expire, Feinstein sought a 10-year amendment to extend the ban but the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which the amendment was linked to failed, and thus, the amendment died, as well.
When the Act was resurrected in 2005, Feinstein once again tried to also revive the ‘assault weapons’ ban but her attempt failed for a second time.
In 2013, Feinstein once again sought to bring back her assault weapons ban, following the Sandy Hook school massacre, with a restriction on ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
This time, however, even more overreaching by Feinstein of Second Amendment rights occurred, when her bill was slated to stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles, which technically did not meet the definition of assault weapons.
Feinstein’s attempt in 2013, may have been her last opportunity at reviving her failed ‘assault weapons’ ban which had previously expired in 2004. Feinstein’s tenacity at trying to pass bills that would ban military-style long guns and hinder constitutional rights, has lasted for approximately nine years.
The failure of Feinstein to pass the gun ban in 2013 and to leave a legacy as the nation’s ‘crusader against guns’ has seemingly ended. Feinstein’s chances of reaching that historical pinnacle appeared to have been dashed in April 2013.
Feinstein possibly saw one final chance, in releasing the CIA report, to leave a noble legacy, in her mind, and to reach a pinnacle of success before having to relinquish her position as Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee to the incoming Republican majority.
As with her anti-gun legislation, Feinstein may have viewed herself as once again righting a wrong when she opted to present the report at this juncture.
In her final act of defiance, Feinstein said, as justification for releasing the recent summary on the CIA, “History will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say: Never again.
However, in the end, perhaps Feinstein’s biggest and most remembered legacy of her office and her years as a gun control advocate, will be the final shot she fired in releasing the summary on the CIA that some fear will spread violence and claim the lives of many Americans.