Boehner Stymies Gun Reform

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Gun control advocates, stand down.

That’s the message being sent by newly engaveled House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who, The Hill reports, plans to reject the gun-control legislation offered by Rep. Pete King (R-NY) in the wake of the Tucson massacre. King’s bill would prevent people from carrying guns within 1,000 feet of members of Congress. A long-time proponent for stricter gun laws, King says his bill is meant to protect government officials and the public alike: by protecting elected officials, the thinking goes, constituents will feel safer meeting them in public.

But it doesn’t look like the GOP leadership is united with Boehner in his stance against the bill. Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) plans to “reserve judgment” until King’s bill is ready, according to The Hill. The story doesn’t explain why Boehner plans to reject King’s bill. 

But Boehner’s apparent objection to the bill shows, yet again, how tough it is to tighten gun laws in the face of the formidable gun lobby. And reform advocates on the Hill have little faith in the fate of any meaningful reform legislation. “Anything you can get through the gun lobby is going to have little consequence,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), told The Hill. “I don’t see the likelihood of much progress—I don’t see much hope.” Neither Boehner’s position nor Moran’s dour predictions bode well for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), who on Monday promised to introduce new gun control legislation that addresses the high-capacity ammunition clips used by alleged Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner.

Despite showing a strong, sensible, supportive face—by suspending debate on health care repeal, for example—the split between Boehner and Cantor suggests that the GOP senior brass hasn’t quite found its legislative footing in the wake of the Tucson tragedy. Cantor could just be waiting to see how public opinion settles over the next several days before yanking the rug out from under King. His patience, in other words, could prove savvy if turns out that tighter laws—say, for instance, like restoring the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004—are what the people want. Still, odds are that any substantive gun control bill won’t see the light of day. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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