Boehner Stymies Gun Reform

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


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. 

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate