Key Republican won't help Dems force gun control vote

Key Republican won't help Dems force gun control vote
AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Earlier this week, I wrote about how House Democrats intended to push a vote on gun control despite leadership having no interest in scheduling one.

To do that, they’ve got to have a few Republicans cross the lines and side with them while having literally every Democrat in the House hold the line.

It seems they’ve hit a bit of a snag, though.

One of the Republicans they were likely counting on has decided he wants no part of this plan.

A rare House Republican who supports stricter gun measures said he won’t back a Democratic effort to end-run Speaker Kevin McCarthy and force a vote on a trio of bills to implement those restrictions.

“At some point we need to start thinking about getting things done rather than sending messages across the floor of the House,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., said in an interview Thursday.

“It’s a very intellectually dishonest way of proceeding when you don’t have any strategy” to pass the bills through the Senate, he said.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., unveiled the strategy to try to go around McCarthy, R-Calif., at a Democratic meeting this week, two sources said.

Fitzpatrick was one of Democrats’ few, if only, natural allies to get a majority of the House to support the move. His opposition deals a major blow to the push, which will require at least a half-dozen House Republicans to sign the discharge petition to force a vote.

So why would Fitzpatrick not join in this. After all, one of the measures being pushed is one he co-authored. Wouldn’t he like to see it pass?

Fitzpatrick says he wants to focus on building support for the measure itself, but I think there’s more to it than that.

While he likes gun control, he’s still part of the Republican Party. He knows good and well that helping with an end-around the House leadership like this might get this bill passed, but it’ll also make it less likely he’ll have the party’s support at various points down the road.

You know, like re-election?

He may want gun control, but I’m sure there are a lot of other things he’d like to do that would be a lot harder if he goes against his leadership.

Yet with Fitzpatrick out, the odds of gathering the other Republicans needed to push gun control votes aren’t looking good. He was, perhaps, their best shot. With him gone, it’s unlikely they’ll get enough others to cross party lines and join them.

As I said earlier this week, though, that’s probably good news for vulnerable Democrats. A lot of them don’t want to raise much of a stink on gun control because they know it might not play particularly well back home. They’ll be good foot soldiers for the party, but it may put a spotlight on them they’d rather not be in.

People like Reps. Hakeem Jefferies and Lucy McBath haven’t thought that through.

Then again, they apparently figure they’re safe, so screw everyone else.

Either way, it looks like this effort isn’t going to happen and that’s likely good news for gun rights.

However, even if it had, those measures would still have had to go to the Senate where they’d be filibustered into oblivion. This really isn’t about gun control and never was. It was about trying to hurt Republicans in purple districts because they think gun control is a winning issue.

That’s all it ever was and don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

And, frankly, it went out the window. Maybe Fitzpatrick realized it and simply refused to play that particular game.