Paul Ryan’s Latest Showdown With the Freedom Caucus Is All About Guns

The House Freedom Caucus– the same group that drove House Speaker John Boehner out of office after years of run-ins over funding bills– won’t back a gun bill being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan that aims to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.

In a major schism within his conference, Ryan is struggling to garner consensus on the legislation that was designed to look similar to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s bill that forces investigators to provide evidence before a gun sale to a suspected terrorist is permanently blocked. According to a report from Politico, Ryan had initially planned to bring the legislation to the floor as early as Wednesday, but a rules committee meeting on the legislation was postponed after rumblings began that the House Freedom Caucus was frustrated with both the process and the perception that Ryan was rewarding House Democrats who had taken to the floor for a sit-in to demand action on guns in June.

“Significant portions of the bill did not go through the regular committee approval process. Committees of jurisdiction should work to improve the bill. We stand ready to assist in that process to best address the greatest threats posed to the homeland,” the Freedom Caucus said in a released statement Wednesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday during his leadership presser that he was still confident the legislation had a path forward.

“I think there is still a path forward. We are in ongoing negotiations,” Ryan said. “The last thing we are going to do is rush something to the floor that we don’t have right.”

House Freedom Caucus member David Brat – who ousted Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary– told Politico that he was frustrated with Ryan’s gun push.

“Our side whipped together something in the short term because of
political pressure. But they shouldn’t have done that,” Rep. Dave
Brat (R-VA) said.
“There is a reason you have committees and regular order,
to put together bills and policies that won’t harm the American people.
And this would. No one wants guns in the hands of terrorists but this
bill has fundamental problems.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: