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January 12, 2011

Boehner Shuts Down Peter King Gun Control Legislation

Posted in: Uncategorized

I guess Rachel Maddow called me out, among other people, a bit for displaying a bit of cynicism over the possibility of gun control legislation getting through Congress. I’m all for rallying the troops with a “we can do it” speech, but when I wrote that, I was thinking of this. The Speaker of the House, who sets the schedule, just does not support new gun control legislation, it seems.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is rejecting gun-control legislation offered by the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in response to the weekend shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 19 others in Arizona

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation prohibiting people from carrying guns within 1,000 feet of members of Congress.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the Speaker would not support King’s legislation.

The office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the majority leader is reserving judgment until the King bill is finalized.

“Mr. Cantor believes it’s appropriate to adequately review and actually read legislation before forming an opinion about it,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring stated in an e-mail.

I don’t really care that Boehner won’t support the King bill, which I find pretty ridiculous. But if legislation that comes from the Republican side can’t even get past the introductory stage, I don’t see what hope there is for Democratic bills.

That doesn’t mean Carolyn McCarthy or Frank Lautenberg or Mike Quigley should give up; far from it. McCarthy will introduce her bill, which would restore the ban on high-capacity extended magazine clips, next Tuesday. She got some DC establishment support from Ruth Marcus today:

Guns don’t kill people, bullets kill people – and gunmen intent on killing a lot of people tend to think 10 rounds is not enough.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter, told a curious clerk at Guns Galore that he wanted the extended-capacity clips because “he didn’t like spending time loading magazines when he was at the range,” according to court testimony. A few months later, Hasan, armed with 16 magazines and nearly 400 rounds of ammunition, allegedly killed 13 people.

For all the focus on weaponry, one of the most useful parts of the now-lapsed federal ban on assault weapons was that it prohibited the manufacture of magazines of more than 10 rounds. If the law, which expired in 2004, were still in effect, it would not stop crazed gunmen from inflicting damage, but it might limit the amount of damage they could inflict.

I don’t really want to raise expectations about this, but McCarthy and her allies have a good argument to make. Let’s see if they’ll even be allowed by the Republican-led House to make it.

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