Paul Ryan says not yet time for political battles on guns

Amid renewed debate over gun control after Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida, House Speaker Paul Ryan is arguing that now is not the time to wage political battles.

“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” he told reporters Thursday at a news conference at the Capitol. “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House, and the whole country, stands with the Parkland community.”

Ryan reminded reporters that the Republican-controlled House passed a bill that would fill holes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to better ensure reporting from states and the military of people with domestic abuse convictions, like the gunman who killed 26 at a Texas church in November.

“So, if there’s someone who’s not supposed to get a gun who’s getting a gun, then we’ve got to figure out why that’s happening and fix that,” he said. “That’s a piece of legislation we already passed that’s sitting in the Senate.”

Pressed on whether he’d consider a select committee on combating gun violence — a request that Democrats have made repeatedly — Ryan said “I think Congress should do its job” and referred to mental health reform legislation the House passed in 2016.

“That legislation is now just taking place, that legislation is now being implemented,” he said.

Ryan’s Democratic counterpart, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told reporters, “we hope that we will have more than a moment of silence.”

“I’d rather pass gun legislation than win the election,” she added.