The PJ Tatler

Gun-Control Advocates Renew Hill Push in Wake of Santa Monica Shooting

Gun-control advocates will double-team the Hill next week as families of victims in last week’s Santa Monica College shooting join Newtown families for a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The Santa Monica gunman who killed five, John Zawahiri, was kicked out of a continuation high school in 2006 for “disturbing behaviors” centering “around his discussion of weapons and violence,” the Los Angeles Times reported today. Police officials said the 23-year-old carried an AR-15 and .44 revolver and had 40 magazines packed with 30 rounds each strapped to his body and in a bag he was carrying.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) laughed talking to reporters yesterday on the Hill when asked if there’s “a snowball’s chance” of gun-control being successfully revived in the House.

“I’m very doubtful what with the House leadership has any intention of bringing a bill to the floor. I think that’s unfortunate. I think background checks — 85 to 90 percent of Americans believe that having a background check for somebody to purchase a weapon makes common sense. The NRA supported it 10 years ago and, opposes it now. I don’t know what their rationalization is. I’m sure they have one,” Hoyer said.

When asked about the meeting with victims’ families, Hoyer said he believes Boehner is “an empathetic person.”

“I mean I think that you know he’s not a hard-hearted person. I think these folks have sustained a loss, they want to meet with the Speaker and I think it shows respect for them that he will listen to them. But I don’t know that they will move him to action,” Hoyer said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said recently that he wants to revive gun control in the upper chamber.

“Every single time something like this happens, I think this does give us wind at our back,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said on MSNBC after the Santa Monica shooting.

“Whether it’s with staunch opponents or senators on the fence, they can be powerfully persuasive, and show that this bill is very much alive and well,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said on the visit by victims’ families. “We’re not standing down. The bill will be brought back. The majority leader has promised that it will be. And I think we’ll have another vote before the end of the year.”

Hoyer said he presumed the Republican appointed to temporarily fill the seat of late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, will support gun control.

“Which means that Senator Reed still needs to get five additional votes. I don’t know whether he can do that, I hope he can. I commend him for bringing it back up and, I think it makes sense,” he added. “And I would hope we would move it here, but I don’t see any indication, Republican leadership being that Mr. Boehner or, Mr. Cantor or Mr. Goodlatte — I guess that this committee would be in each committee has any intention of doing so. So we’ll see.”