Im not a sixth-grader, Feinstein shot back. Senator, Ive been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. Ive looked at bodies that have been shot with weapons. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered.
Noting that she was not a lawyer, the four-term senator said, Its fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know Ive been here for a long time. Ive passed on a number of bills. Ive studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well-educated, and I thank you for the lecture."
Feinstein later apologized to Cruz for the tone of her reply. You sort of got my dander up, she said.
That wasnt the only example of the differences on display. The committee rejected on the same lines several amendments by Cruzs Republican colleague from Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, that would have created more exemptions, allowing victims of domestic violence, rural and border-state residents and former members of the military to own assault weapons and high-capacity clips.
Cornyn noted that Feinsteins bill already contained such a provision for retired police officers.
Why we would deny other American citizens the right to legitimately use these weapons for self-defense escapes me, he said.
Feinsteins current and former colleagues have said that shes determined to push the legislation as far as she can, and that she may get some of what she sought. But the political realities of the current Congress, which has trouble agreeing on even once-routine matters, and the equal determination of her opponents to stop her make it unlikely the assault weapons ban will survive.
She knows shes not going to be able to win everything, said former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. No one does in a legislative body.
C-Span: Sen. Ted Cruz and Dianne Feinstein discuss gun legislation