WASHINGTON — House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer indicated he was unsure whether an assault weapon ban could pass the House of Representatives, but said he was hopeful that some kind of gun control would go through.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was doubtful that an assault weapon ban was something that could get through the House, if it even made it through the Senate.
Asked by reporters about Reid’s remarks, Hoyer said he had “no assessment” as to whether an assault weapon ban could pass, but that he was hopeful that some measures could be taken to attempt to prevent another mass shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Based on past history,” he said, “you would say that it would not pass.”
But he pointed to a Washington Post/ABC poll released Monday that found a majority of Americans receptive to some gun control measures. Eighty-eight percent or respondents said they favored closing the loophole that allows people to buy guns at gun shows without being subjected to background checks. A smaller majority, 65 percent, said they favored banning high capacity ammunition clips, and 58 percent said they would favor a nationwide assault weapon ban.
“The fact of the matter,” he said, “is there are some common sense things which are overwhelmingly supported by the American people.”
“A responsible nation, particularly a nation that has seen more gun violence than any other nation on earth, otuside of context of war, needs to look at this very seriously,” Hoyer told reporters at a briefing. “I’m hoping we can create consensus in the congress to move forward on common sense legislation dealing with all those issues that I’ve mentioned.”
“I’m hopeful that past history will not be prologue to what we are able to do,” he said.
Hoyer said that if President Barack Obama were to take executive action to pass gun control measures, as he has indicated he might do, that he would be acting responsibly.
“I think the president, to the extent that he has executive powers to deal with this issue and try to make Americans safer, both has a repsonsibility and an intent to do so,” he said.