By Molly K. Hooper and Mike Lillis - 02/28/12 09:05 PM EST
House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (R-Ohio) downplayed new gun control legislation in light of Monday's high-school shooting in his native Ohio.
Asked if the shooting would prompt some kind of legislative crackdown on gun rights, BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE nixed the idea.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) agreed that the deadly shooting was not likely to lead to tougher gun laws.
Hoyer said the tragic shooting at Chardon High School near Cleveland — which left three teenage students dead and two others hospitalized with serious injuries — "brings attention" to the issue of gun reform, but entrenched opposition on Capitol Hill means no changes to the nation's gun laws are likely forthcoming.
"These tragedies are always sad," Hoyer said during a press briefing in the Capitol, "but the reality is, in the House of Representatives [a gun control bill isn't] going to go anywhere."
The shootings in the high-school cafeteria, allegedly committed by another teenager with a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, have churned national headlines and renewed the heated debate over the nation's gun laws — much like the high-profile shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) launched a national discussion over gun reform almost 14 months ago. The student suspected of the crimes was apprehended shortly after the event and appeared before a judge on Tuesday.
A number of Democrats introduced gun-reform legislation last year in the wake of the Giffords shooting, but it was never considered in the GOP-led House.
Supporters of gun reform pointed to Monday's tragedy as evidence that Congress needs to intervene to make it tougher for U.S. youths to get their hands on firearms.
"When parents cannot send their teenagers to school with any assurance they will return home safely at the end of the day, we have a serious gun violence problem that our political leaders must address," Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said Monday in a statement. "It is simply too easy for young people to get their hands on deadly weaponry. It is long past time for us to address this issue as an urgent national concern."
The shooting took place roughly 25 miles east of Cleveland, an area represented by Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), a close Boehner ally. LaTourette took to the House floor Tuesday afternoon to lead the chamber in a moment of silence. He condemned a tragedy he said has become "all too frequent" in the United States, but did not address the issue of gun reform.
LaTourette spokeswoman Deborah Setliff said it would be "inappropriate" to talk about gun reforms so soon after the shooting.
"That's not even an issue to be discussed right now," she said.
—Updated with new information at 4:59 p.m.