Mike Johnson has his hands in his pockets giving a thin-lipped smile on the House floor.

New House Speaker Mike Johnson’s Plan for Ending Gun Violence: Prayer

We know that most elected officials in the Republican Party are totally disinterested in addressing the issue of gun violence. The party continues to stall progress on substantial gun control legislation, even as more and more mass shootings continue to rock our nation. And despite having just taken on the mantle of House Speaker, Mike Johnson wasted no time in offering up predictable, bland platitudes.

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In Maine this week, a person shot and killed at least 18 people and injured 50–60 more. He went to multiple locations and as of Thursday night, has not been found. Law enforcement has been searching for the shooter and went to a property owned by one of his relatives. Many Maine residents have reportedly been sheltering in place since the shootings took place. The horror for this state and for the country cannot be overstated.

According to the Associated Press, this was the 36th mass shooting this year. While most reasonable people continue to be outraged by the gun violence that plagues the United States, elected officials in the GOP are hell-bent on doing NOTHING to stop the carnage, and that includes the newly elected Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. I don’t have high hopes for this man period, but the statement he gave when news from Maine broke is truly awful.

In a statement from Capitol Hill, the new speaker said nothing about how we can move forward effectively. In fact, he took the usual issuance of “thoughts and prayers” and somehow made it more useless, cutting out the “thoughts” part entirely.

“This is a dark time in America and we have a lot of problems, and we are really, really hopeful and prayerful,” he told reporters. “Prayer is appropriate in a time like this, that the evil can end and the senseless violence can stop.”

Johnson said that was the entirety of the statement “on behalf of the entire House of Representatives,” saying, “Everyone wants this to end and I’ll leave it there.”

I don’t expect huge dissertations with such a quick turnaround from the initial event, I get it. But this was a generic, vacuous statement from the guy’s first real crisis as Speaker of the House. And the people took notice! The comments on Twitter/X responding to this statement and to a follow-up interview Johnson gave to Fox News in which he claimed the problem is “not guns” but “the human heart” were as disgusted as I was. And that included some of Johnson’s Democratic colleagues he tried to speak on behalf of.

The DNC War Room account on X shared an older video of Johnson going off on some nonsense in relation to gun violence. This was before he was the Speaker of the House. In the video, he rails against no-fault divorce laws, the sexual revolution, radical feminism, and legalized abortion. He blames our “amoral society” for shooters because, according to him, we have taught recent generations that there is no such thing as right and wrong.

What complete nonsense. They will literally talk about ANYTHING but the guns. The guns that allow people to shoot rapidly and kill dozens like it’s nothing. These are not good-faith actors. These are unhinged individuals who have a wild obsession with firearms and an alleged cultural decline. Not a good mix for the rest of us.

The way Republicans give empty rhetoric about these horrible shootings continues to really upset me, though none of it is surprising. But even more upsetting is how they seemingly have zero plans to do anything about this uniquely American problem. We will see in the weeks and months to come, if the Republican-controlled House is able to put forward anything that even looks like sensible gun legislation.

Speaker Johnson gave us nothing but prayer, which is NOT a solution. I pray too but that is not something that can move the United States forward in a time like this. There must be real policies enacted to stop this epidemic. Republicans continue to fail us and after every evil act like the one in Maine, we are reminded of why they shouldn’t be in control of any branch of government.

(featured image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)


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