"House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations," said a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."So on the one hand, Boehner doesn't seem at all interested in picking a fight with President Obama over gun control. That's a reflection of how public opinion has shifted on gun control. But on the other hand, he clearly doesn't feel any particular urgency to take any action.
Barring some sort of miraculous conversion on the part of House Republicans, the only way any significant legislation will move forward in the House is if GOP leadership agrees to once again allow a bill opposed by a majority of Republicans to move to the floor. And the only way that will happen is if House Republicans feel the same sort of pressure to take action that they did on the tax cliff and Hurricane Sandy votes, both of which were rare examples of legislation passing the House despite Republican opposition.
Where might that pressure come from? Here's three potential sources: (a) the Senate passing a bill, (b) President Obama using the bully pulpit, and (c) a few "trusted" Republicans urging action (like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) on the Sandy aid package, or Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) on the tax cliff). In the current climate, I think you'd probably need all three to happen for there to be a chance that House Republicans would feel compelled to act on anything significant. Otherwise, Republicans will probably just try to bottle everything up.
That's hardly a recipe for easy success, but between the mass shootings that we've already experienced (not to mention the tragic prospect for more) and the National Rifle Association's incredibly inept communications strategy, gun control opponents in their weakest position in years. Moreover, as Greg Sargent points out, by making a more sweeping proposal up front, the White House has put itself in the position of being able to make concessions (such as on the assault weapons ban) to build a coalition while still feeling good about what they achieve package. And whatever ends up happening, the politics here aren't friendly to Republicans. They may have the clout to kill any reform, but they will pay a price for doing so. The question will be: how much?