In the wake of the shooting deaths of 49 people by a sympathizer to the Islamic State, Democrats Monday called for tougher restrictions on gun sales while Republicans focused their attention on the fight against the Islamic militants who control large sections of Syria and Iraq.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who joined presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her speech in Cleveland, said it is “past time to finally muster the political courage to say enough is enough and pass commonsense laws to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and violent criminals.”
Brown echoed calls by Clinton and Senate Democrats to pass a bill which would prohibit anyone from buying a gun who is suspected by the FBI of being a terrorist or whose name has appeared on a no-fly list. Senate Republicans killed a similar measure last year.
“If the FBI believes there is a reasonable chance someone is going to use a gun in a terrorist attack, it should be able to make that determination and block the sale,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters on a conference call.
But conservative Republicans appeared cool toward any attempt to restrict gun sales. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, said in a statement President Barack Obama and Democrats “shouldn’t be trying to divide us at this time by immediately attacking the Second Amendment.”
Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, complained that “in an attempt to politicize this and other tragedies, some have called for new laws or regulations that will restrict the right of ordinary Americans to own firearms.”
“Terrorists have used planes, knives, homemade explosives, and firearms to murder innocent Americans,” Gibbs said in a statement. “Instead of haphazardly passing new laws that could have serious unintended consequences for law-abiding Americans, we should make sure our police and intelligence agencies have all the tools necessary to stop terrorists before they attack.”
When asked about potential new gun laws, a spokeswoman for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, referred to his Facebook post from Sunday in which he called for “a comprehensive strategy to confront and defeat ISIS and this radical Islamist ideology.”
Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, also called for a “comprehensive strategy, adding “terrorists will stop at nothing and we cannot back down in our resolve to protect Americans and our values of democracy, freedom, and liberty.”
Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, called the attack “an assault on our country and our people,” saying “hate has no place in our country.”
(Jack Torry of the Washington bureau contributed to this story.)