So much for toning down the violent political rhetoric in Washington.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) used gun imagery Sunday while discussing public workers' collective bargaining rights.

"In some of these states you've got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there’s almost no bargaining," he told CBN's David Brody.

"We've given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied."

Republican governors in some states have moved to force unions to pay more for benefits, and to strip them of collective bargaining rights. Thousands have recently protested union-busting bills in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

"I think what you're seeing in these states is they're trying to bring some balance to these negotiations that when you look at the pay of public employees today and you look at their retirement benefits they are way out of line with many other working Americans," Boehner added.

In the wake of a mass shooting in Arizona that left six dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in the hospital, Boehner did temporarily moderate his word choice.

After the shooting, the House Speaker chose to refer to President Obama's signature health care law as "job destroying" instead of "job killing."

The Ohio Republican may be testing the waters for more violent words in the future.

Earlier this year, Rep. Mike Lee (R-UT) said that toning down the rhetoric means "the shooter wins."

"What happened to Boehner here is a symptom a lot of politicians are noticing," Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler noted. "As the weeks tick away since the Arizona shooting, they're slipping back into modes of rhetoric they'd grown comfortable with over the last years. Of course, they'll continually readjust and correct themselves for the next long interim, but they're on the slow slide back to the status quo ante."

This video is from CBN, broadcast March 1, 2011.

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