Portman says he’d consider new gun laws

by Deirdre Shesgreen, USA Today  |  published on December 23, 2012

Rob Portman

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters on Thursday that he would be open to considering new gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons being pushed by President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Portman — who voted against the assault weapons ban in 1994 when he was in the House — said last week’s Connecticut shooting, in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down at an elementary school, should prompt lawmakers to consider a wide range of steps to reduce gun violence.

He said Congress should consider everything from society’s “glorification” of violence to mental health policies to gun control. On guns, Portman said he would be open to a full range of options — from outlawing high-capacity ammunition clips, as gun-control proponents want, to allowing armed guards in schools, as gun-rights advocates have suggested.

“I think we ought to (consider) all of these, because I don’t think we’re going to get to the root of the tragedy” unless policymakers take a “holistic” approach, Portman said. “It’s tempting after something like this to think there’s a quick fix, and unfortunately I don’t think there is.”

Asked specifically whether he was leaving the door open to supporting a prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, Portman said: “Both of those topics ought to be looked at,” although he also reiterated his support for gun rights.

“It’s important that we look at this carefully, logically and understand what the trade-offs are. I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment,” the Ohio Republican said. “I am always concerned that we go too far with restricting rights when there is not a good case to be made (that) it will make us safer, but I’m open to looking at that issue.”

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