Portman urges lawmakers to end push to 'criminalize' private gun sales

“Rather than continuing to push for legislation that would place additional restrictions on law-abiding Ohioans and criminalize private sales, while doing little or nothing to address the true causes of violence, I urge city officials to instead work with me and others to seek solutions that will make a difference,” Portman said.

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Earlier this year, the Senate failed to get 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster on a gun reform bill that would have required background checks for all gun sales, including those that take place online. 

Senators were prompted to take action after 20 first-graders where killed by a gunman at Sandyhook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. Most Republicans opposed the Senate bill because they said it violated the Second Amendment of the Constitution by limiting gun rights.

“Both the families of the victims of the terrible tragedy in Newtown with whom I met and the authors of this legislation to expand background checks to more private sales have acknowledged that it would not have prevented the heartbreaking loss of life we saw in Newtown,” Portman said Tuesday. “Based on the administration's own Justice Department statistics about how criminals obtain guns, we also know that legislation to expand background checks to private sales would have no meaningful impact on the unacceptable level of daily gun violence on the streets.”

Portman said officials and the administration should work harder to enforce current gun laws, restrict the mentally ill from accessing guns and address drug and gang problems that lead to gun violence.

“I hope those concerned about gun violence will support reauthorization this year of two laws I authored, the Second Chance Act and the Drug Free Communities Act, that are actually helping reduce the gun violence wreaking havoc in some of our communities and among our families,” Portman said.

Democrats have called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to once again bring the bipartisan background check bill to the floor, but it’s unclear if that will happen during the busy fall session.