Shaken Portman urges support for 'red flag' laws after Ohio shooting

 
Portman told a group of reporters at the Capitol he was "encouraged" by ongoing conversations within the Senate GOP caucus about supporting "red flag" laws, which are meant to make it easier for law enforcement to identify mentally ill people who should be banned from purchasing guns.
 
"This idea of identifying people who are at risk of violent acts and a danger to the community, you know, is something that we have to address. … There are some laws that I think bridge this issue of the guns and the mental health issue and I think red flag laws is one," Portman said. 
 
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"That is one issue that I think there seems to be, you know, an opportunity to make a difference on. In other words, some of the legislative ideas may not make a difference; this one would," he continued. 
 
Portman's support for "red flag" legislation comes as the idea appeared to gain steam among Senate Republicans and with the White House.
 
Trump signaled during remarks from the White House on Monday that he supported "red flag" laws. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Linsey Graham (R-S.C.) is expected to introduce legislation soon with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) that would encourage states to pass new laws. 

Senators are floating ideas for new legislation after a gunman on Saturday killed more than 20 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. Less than a day later, at least nine people were killed and more than two dozen were injured in a Dayton, Ohio, shooting. The two shootings are not believed to be linked.

In addition to "red flag" laws, Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Schumer: I don't know any 'Democrat who agrees' with O'Rourke on gun seizures O'Rourke: Many Democrats 'complicit' in gun problem MORE (D-W.Va.) are doubling down on their legislation that would expand gun background checks. Portman, on Tuesday, demurred when asked if he would support the bill, saying lawmakers should "look at everything." 
 
Portman was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to preside over a brief pro forma session, which he noted he had signed up for before last weekend's shooting. 
 
But he noted he was in Dayton, Ohio, in the wake of the shooting, including meeting with state and local officials and law enforcement. 
 
"We saw the most, to me, graphic illustration of the horror of that day where we saw people in hazmat suits cleaning the blood off the sidewalks," Portman said. 
 
He added that he traveled to a hospital where he meet with victims and their family members, describing them as "in shock still and it's just very emotional."