Senior Senate Democrats want to postpone the fight over a new assault weapons ban until gun control legislation hits the floor in the coming weeks.
But they may not have a choice.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) — the lead sponsor of a measure to ban assault weapons — is seriously weighing whether to propose the new ban at a Judiciary Committee markup later this month, a move that could upend the Democratic leadership’s carefully hatched strategy to handle the controversial gun-control debate.
“Probably,” Feinstein told POLITICO when asked if she would offer her measure as an amendment in committee. “This is a ways away.”
If Feinstein ultimately decides to go that route, some Democrats fear the move could ironically end up sinking a new universal background checks bill, which is considered a key piece of President Barack Obama’s gun control agenda that stands a serious chance of passing the Senate.