"You have lots and lots of Democrats who got support from the NRA this time, and so they agree with the NRA. They'll vote with the NRA," Stahl told Feinstein.
"I'm not going to disagree with that at all," the senator replied.
She admits she's facing daunting opposition. "The National Rifle Association essentially has a stranglehold on the Congress."
Asked if anybody from the Democratic Senate leadership or from the administration has asked her to back off, Feinstein said, "No. Nobody said a word to me."
And what about President Obama, who NRA supporters like to call the great "gun grabber"?
His Web site says he wants to make "the expired federal assault weapons ban permanent," but the White House doesn't seem to be interested in bringing it up - any time soon.
"There's some sense that the president has so many crisis issues on his plate right now that the idea of bringing up guns - which is considered part of the Culture Wars - would be such a diversion," Stahl told Feinstein.
"I agree with you. I wouldn't bring it up now," she replied.
Feinstein said she's going to hold off, for now, but vowed she would eventually push the issue. "I'll pick the time and the place, no question about that," she told Stahl.
Just in the last four weeks, there have been at least eight separate deadly shooting sprees all across the country. Some of this can be linked to the recession since several of the gunmen had lost their jobs.
The recession is having an effect in another surprising way: in past downturns, people stocked up on things like canned soups. But this time, it's guns.
Even as the stock market has plummeted, shares in Smith & Wesson have nearly quadrupled since November, and sales of guns are going through the roof.
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