Washington (CNN) – The number two House Democrat believes the deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard will renew the debate over gun control, but admitted that outside groups opposed to any new restrictions make it unlikely that Congress will enact any new laws.
"If the past is prologue that prologue is not very helpful," House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, referencing failed attempts on Capitol Hill to pass new gun laws after previous mass shootings, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
The Maryland Democrat said there are "mixed messages," noting that public opinion polls show overwhelming support for enhanced background check laws. But at the same time he said politicians noticed when two Colorado legislators recently lost their elected posts for supporting those laws.
Hoyer said stronger background checks used to be supported by some gun rights groups, "but the politics have changed and yes, the groups in this instance –on these single issues - obviously hold a great sway, particularly in a Republican party," Hoyer said.
Hoyer also told reporters that Republicans aren’t going to bring up a gun control bill on the House floor. And a GOP leadership aide reiterated they have no plans to move any legislation unless the Senate passes something first.
Three of the victims killed in the shooting at the Navy Yard lived in Hoyer's suburban Maryland district.