Coming soon to a polling center in Ohio is the race between Senator Rob Portman and challenger Ted Strickland. While many elections have candidates that have some similarities amongst them, these two men in particular fall very far apart on one issue in particular – guns.
Republican Senator Rob Portman is not only an ally to the gun community, but he is also a part of it. An avid sportsman himself, Portman has served as a member of the Senate Sportsmen’s Caucus and vice-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. He also spends plenty of time enjoying the outdoors himself, hunting and fishing throughout his life. Because he enjoys such activities, it only makes sense that it is on his agenda to protect them, such as by co-sponsoring the Sportsmen’s Act. In fact, part of his campaign includes Sportsmen for Portman, which highlights encounters hunters and fishermen have personally had with him.
In addition to working on behalf of outdoorsmen, Senator Portman has taken other steps to defend the rights of gun owners. He has been averse to banning standard-capacity magazines as well as semiautomatic rifles, while simultaneously defending national Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation. Portman has resisted attempts at passing “universal” background checks as well as the U.N. gun-ban treaty, both of which have contributed to his “A” rating with the NRA. He has also fought efforts to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act as a means to keep dealers and manufacturers safe from liability pertaining to their products.
“I am a proud lifelong outdoorsman, 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,'” said Rob Portman when questioned about his outlook on the Second Amendment by OutdoorHub.
Democratic challenger, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, has an interesting history with guns. Though he claims to come from a family in which hunting, and therefore obviously gun use and ownership, was a part of life, he has since had a change of heart on the subject. At one time he voted against the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban of 1994, but in recent years his stance has changed, alienating the gun community. Instead, he chose to lobby for gun control up to and including an “enforceable” assault weapons ban.
Strickland’s new outlook on gun control has caused many changes in relationships. The NRA, for example, has since released an ad against Strickland, stating that he traded his relationship with them for an anti-gun group in favor of registering firearms and acquiring mandatory permits for semiautomatic firearms. Actions that further clarify his stance on firearms freedoms, or lack thereof, include expanding background checks for gun sales, regardless of venue, and allowing misuse lawsuits to be brought against firearms manufacturers and dealers.
On his website, Ted Strickland says the following about gun control: “We should be implementing commonsense and effective ideas to reduce gun violence, specifically: ensuring background checks are conducted on all gun sales – with reasonable exceptions like for transfers between family members – and closing the loophole allowing those on the Terrorist Watchlist to buy guns. I believe these proposals are consistent with our Second Amendment Rights and are the most effective ways to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill.”
Voters in the Buckeye State have a big decision to make this fall. At one time, these two candidates may have exhibited similar views regarding guns, but that is no longer the case. If you’re a gun owner in Ohio, this November choose wisely with whom you stand in order to preserve the freedoms you value most.
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