Politics

McCarthy: No Gun Bill This Week, But Dallas Response Possible

Gun control vote 'will inflame things,' Ryan says

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House will not vote on its delayed counterterrorism and gun control package this week, but it may offer a legislative response to the Dallas shooting, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a brief interview Monday.   

"We're not bringing it up this week," the California Republican said of a GOP counterterrorism bill that includes a three-day delay on gun sales to anyone on a terrorist watch list. The sale would be blocked only if the government can produce evidence that the person belongs on the list.  

The measure faced opposition from Democrats as well as some Republicans, including the roughly 40 conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus. GOP leaders had been discussing ways to improve the measure but have been struggling to find a consensus approach on how to limit suspected terrorists' access to guns without infringing upon constitutional rights.   

"I think it's a good idea not to bring up that bill," Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio said. "We'll see what happens after that."  

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan agreed that the timing is wrong for the measure.  

“That just inflames the conversation by going after law-abiding citizens constitutional rights,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a TV interview Monday evening. “What I think can be helpful is having a dialogue, which we are actually initiating here in the Congress just this week about what are the solutions that we see out there in communities between communities and the police.”  

The House may still revisit the gun legislation after its seven-week summer recess, which begins at the end of this week. "We're working on it," McCarthy said.   

McCarthy said it's possible that the House will vote this week on legislation responding to the sniper attack in Dallas that killed five police officers. That would likely focus on improving law enforcement and community relations.   

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., chairman of the Republican Policy Committee Law Enforcement Task Force and a former sheriff, was engaged in lengthy conversation with Ryan on the House floor Monday night.   

The speaker told a Madison, Wis.- based NBC affiliate Monday that he is initiating conversations “with friends of mine on the other side of the aisle” and inviting leaders from around the country to tell stories about to solving such problems.  

“Listen, learn, act,” Ryan said. “Picking these kinds of fights that involve high-profile, divisive fights, compromising people’s constitutional rights, is the exact wrong thing I think we ought to be doing.”  

Contact McPherson at lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson.  Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter.

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