Boehner Rejects Proposed Gun-Control Legislation; This Could Be a Tough Fight

Newly sworn-in Speaker of the House John Boehner has swiftly and roundly rejected gun-control legislation proposed by a member of his own political party, designed to protect himself and his colleagues, days after one of those colleagues tragically became a victim of gun violence. On the one hand, hats off, because that is an impressive showing of loyalty to the gun lobby. On the other hand: WTF.

I don't mean to suggest that the legislation proposed by Republican Rep. Steve King would solve America's problems with gun violence. It wouldn't. The legislation would merely make it illegal to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress. Today's New York Timeseditorial sums up why King's proposal doesn't go nearly far enough.

[It's] a worthy notion, so far as it goes. But how about going a step further and prohibiting the carrying of a semiautomatic weapon around 9-year-old girls? Or 79-year-old women? Or any of the other victims who were shot down in the Tucson parking lot on Saturday?

Members of Congress are understandably worried about their own safety in the wake of the shooting rampage that was centered around Representative Gabrielle Giffords. It makes sense for the Capitol Police to work more closely with local law enforcement agencies to enhance security at lawmakers’ public events. But some of the ideas being proposed would have the effect of further distancing lawmakers from the people they represent — and elevate their safety above the 100,000 Americans who are shot or killed with a gun every year.

King says the legislation is intended to protect both Congress members andthe public, though it's pretty clear that unless you plan to stay within spitting distance of a Senator 24/7, you'd be little served by the bill.

At any rate, Boehner has made it clear that he is against the proposed legislation, seemingly without even reading it. The Hill:

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.

Ooh, burn.

The fact that Boehner so swiftly and roundly rejected this proposal suggests that stricter gun-control laws are going to be very, very hard to come by. They always are, of course, but the Republican-controlled House and deep-pocketed gun lobby are likely to make that especially true in this Congress, even in the wake of a tragedy like Giffords'.

Rachel Maddow respectfully disagrees that beefing up gun-control laws will -- or at least should -- be so tough. From her show last night:

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AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at January 12, 2011, 3:34am

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