Reader Ben D. writes:
I’ve forwarded you a response I received from Rob Portman, a Republican senator for the state of Ohio, where I live. Unfortunately, my original message to Mr. Portman is not included, as I used a form on his website to initially submit it.
His response interests me partly because of its cookie cutter tact and partly because he volunteers his support for a ban on “bump fire” stocks. Whether or not he supports a ban on “rate increasing devices” is undetermined. His response is particularly important because of Friday’s submission of OB 219 into the Senate, a potential ban on all rate increasing devices in Ohio.
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns following the tragedy in Las Vegas. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.
While there are many facts that are still unknown about this horrific attack, we do know that the shooter utilized a firearm attachment known as a, “bump stock,” which is used to modify a semi-automatic firearm to mimic the rate of fire of a fully automatic firearm.
As you know, fully automatic firearms are already illegal (without a special license and rigorous background check process). I believe something that gets around these restrictions by taking a weapon that is not automatic and making it automatic should not be legal.
I support the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) re-examining the approval of bump stocks. I look forward to reviewing their decision closely, and am willing to consider, if necessary, legislation to make bump stocks illegal.
I continue to support efforts to genuinely reduce crime and make our society safer for all citizens. I have voted to increase prosecutions of those who knowingly bypass current law to get weapons in the hands of violent criminals, and in the 113th Congress, I supported legislation that would have addressed a current gap in the background check system by strengthening state reporting of individuals who courts have found to be mentally ill.
Until we get at the root causes of violence – no law, no ban, and no background check will completely ensure the safety and security of our communities.
I have supported efforts to get at the underlying problem of a culture of violence prevalent in our society by voting to authorize a study to look at the glorification of gun violence in popular culture, as well as risk factors that lead to mass shootings.
Furthermore, we must undertake a comprehensive review of the availability of current mental health services and examine the important role government agencies, community groups, and faith-based organizations can play to help provide the care and protection for those in need of services.
Thank you again for reaching out to my office. Please keep in touch and I hope you will continue to share your views on this issue and any other in the future.