Sen. Rob Portman issues strong statement condemning gun control proposals in D.C. and the U.N.
- United States Senator Rob Portman
by Chad D. Baus
As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Republican Rob Portman was unabashed in his support for the Second Amendment. In September 2010 his campaign released a flyer which pointed out his strong history of support for Second Amendment-related issues, and grading resume from than National Rifle Association over his entire 12 years in Congress.
The Portman campaign flyer promises that "As Ohio's next Senator Rob will continue to protect our Constitutional freedoms and will be a strong advocate for preserving these rights and traditions for future generations."
A few weeks later, in an interview given prior to his address to the U.S. Sportsmen Alliance (USSA) Ohio Rally, Portman informed Outdoor Writers of Ohio members that pro-Second Amendment voters could feel comfortable supporting him, and stressed that "it is critical to have a Senator who will stand up for the Second Amendment."
In the wake of the re-election of President Obama, and the political fallout from a spree killer's attack on the "no-guns" victim zone in Connecticut, it is indeed critical to have a Senator who will stand up for the Second Amendment.
A newly-released statement by Sen. Portman proves that is exactly what we have.
In the days following the attack at Sandy Hook, the media and anti-gun politicians thought they had their chance to accomplish political goals they had long-been denied: the renewal and expansion of a Federal ban on modern semi-automatic rifles, and a "universal background check" gun registration scheme.
When the media questioned Portman about whether or not he would support attempts to renew the rifle ban, headlines across the nation screamed that he believed gun limits should be on the table. Behind the scenes, and with the knowledge that you can't always trust what you read in the media, representatives from Buckeye Firearms Association contacted Portman's office to inquire as to his actual position.
The response came in no uncertain terms: his representatives assured us Sen. Portman's comments had been taken out of context, and that he would not waver on his support for the Second Amendment. His office also released a media statement that said "[Portman] has emphasized that he is a supporter of Second Amendment rights and has yet to see data that points to new gun control laws as an effective way to making our communities safer."
So when news began circulating that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had decided to spend $12 million on television ads designed to influence Senators who are supposedly on the fence regarding their support for a so-called "universal background check" gun registration scheme, we naturally decided it was time to call the Senator again to verify whether or not media reports that he was undecided about the legislation were true. Once again the Senator has responded, and this time even more forcefully.
In fact, it could be said that Sen. Portman has just dropped the equivalent of a "MOAB" on Mayor Bloomberg's multi-million dollar efforts to sway his support for Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Our Right to Bear Arms
By Senator Rob Portman
The United States Senate is likely to take up gun control legislation later this month in response to the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Unfortunately, the majority of the proposals that have surfaced would do nothing to prevent these types of horrific acts of violence from happening in the future. They would,however, infringe on Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
I am a gun owner and avid hunter. Whether for protection, recreation, competition, or to ensure our freedoms granted by the Founders, I continue to support "the right of the people to keep and bear arms..."
Both sides of the gun control debate agree that we should work to reduce gun violence through better enforcement of current gun laws, enhancing school security, and ensuring that those who suffer from mental illness—a common thread in these attacks—receive proper care. There is also a growing recognition of the need to address the root causes of violence in our society. There is more to be done in each of these areas. However, many of the proposals for additional gun control laws are misguided.
For example, banning certain types of weapons based on cosmetic characteristics does not reduce gun violence. The "assault weapons ban" that was in place between 1994 and 2004 had no measurable impact on gun violence. In fact, the number of homicides committed with guns today is lower than when the ban was in effect. I opposed the ban. I opposed extending it in 2004. And I continue to oppose it today.
Requiring universal background checks on all firearm sales—called for by President Obama and other gun control advocates—is similarly flawed. Such a law may sound attractive at first, but a closer look reveals its flaws. First, we know that most criminals obtain their firearms illegally. Studies show that over 70% of guns used in crimes were acquired through illegal activities like theft or straw purchases. Second, people who currently make false statements on a background check in an attempt to purchase a firearm are rarely prosecuted. In 2010, there were 72,659 cases where the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) denied a person the right to purchase a firearm, many based on a past felony conviction. Of these cases, only 13 actually led to a conviction. Third, reporting on mental health information to the NICS is not adequate or consistent, making background checks unreliable. For example, 23 states have submitted less than 100 mental health records and four states haven’t submitted any.
There is also discussion of a new, national gun registry connected with universal background checks. The Obama Administration's Justice Department has said that the effectiveness of universal background checks "depends on…requiring gun registration," something I strongly oppose.
A universal background check also comes at a cost. Such legislation could force law-abiding citizens to get permission from the government before selling firearms to friends or even handing them down among family members. These types of laws ultimately restrict the rights of legal gun owners without having any measurable impact on gun violence.
In addition to the threats to our Second Amendment rights from within this country, we also must be aware of potential threats from the United Nations. Last year, I joined 50 of my colleagues in the U.S. Senate in sending a letter to President Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating that a U.N. treaty infringing on the constitutional rights of American gun owners is unacceptable. I will continue to oppose the ratification of The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and any treaty that restricts the rights of law-abiding Americans to manufacture, assemble, possess, transfer, or purchase firearms, ammunition and related items.
I remain committed to working with my colleagues to better enforce existing gun laws and go after criminals. For example, I support increasing penalties for straw purchasers, and I believe Congress should give law enforcement additional tools to go after gun traffickers. We should also work to improve the safety of our schools. I support the good work being done here in Ohio to provide appropriate training to teachers and administrators who have permission from their local school boards to carry. I also support doing more to help people who suffer from mental illnesses get the treatment they need and to ensure states are providing timely and accurate data for background checks.
But proposed bills such as the assault weapons ban, further limiting magazine capacity, and universal background checks would infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens while doing little or nothing to prevent gun violence.
And with that, Mayor Bloomberg's millions spent on advertisements in Ohio have just been proven a complete waste. To help Mayor Bloomberg waste even more of his money, we'd like to pass on an idea sent to us from one of our long-time volunteers, Mr. Tim Inwood:
You have probably already heard radio [and/or television] spots with a supposed gun owner pushing for this new universal background check bill which is in reality a universal gun registry. This ad was paid for by Mayor Michael "The Nanny" Bloomberg, and it is a vile attack on our rights. Since he is so eager to spend his money, let's help him, but let's do it to preserve our rights. Call the number below. [A recording] will ask if you want talking points - just hit 1 to bypass that. [The recording] will then ask for your zip code to pass you on to your Senator. They will only bother sending you to a pro-gun senator in an attempt to get you to sway them to vote anti-gun.
[When you're patched through to the senator's office,] let them know you oppose any new gun control laws and also add you do not want to the Senate to ratify this new horrid anti-gun small arms treaty [just passed] by the U.N. Have fun and feel free to pass this on to your pro-gun rights family and friends.
Buckeye Firearms Association is thankful for Sen. Portman's leadership on this issue, and we believe this statement should go a long way to help further a more constructive conversation about the things Senators should be working on in our nation's capital if they truly want to protect America's children.
Contact Senator Portman to express your thanks for his leadership in this issue at:
@robportman - oppose @BarackObama and @MikeBloomberg's anti-Second Amendment agenda #NRAStandandFight
Or, better yet, if you're from Ohio, make Michael Bloomberg pay for the call by dialing 855-440-4800. And if you do, be sure to let them know who paid for the call!
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.
The following report on the events that transpired following the passage of a Canadian gun registration law show just what may be in store for Americans if a majority in the U.S. Senate joins Schumer and other gun ban extremists, as journalist Brian Lilley gives an important warning to his American friends:
"Registration of firearms will lead to the confiscation of firearms."