If there was a bill introduced this session of Congress aimed at protecting the right to own a gun, there’s a good chance Cincinnati Republican Rep. Steve Chabot cosponsored it.
Same with Reps. Bob Gibbs, of Lakeville, Bill Johnson of Marietta and Brad Wenstrup, of Cincinnati.
The Ohio GOP lawmakers have not been defined by gun issues during their time in the House, but a brief analysis of some of the major gun measures introduced this Congress found those lawmakers – along with Reps. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green and Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, as frequent cosponsors of gun rights legislation introduced this Congress. Renacci is a GOP candidate for governor.
Most of the bills have not gone anywhere, but cosponsoring a bill is seen as a sign that not only would a member be willing to vote for the bill, they’re willing to have their name added to it.
Chabot, Johnson, Wenstrup, Renacci and Latta all cosponsored, for example, the “Hearing Protection Act,” a bill that would remove gun silencers from regulation under the National Firearms Act.
That bill – which was scheduled for the House floor earlier this year – was pulled in the wake of the shootings in Las Vegas. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, Warren Davidson, R-Troy, and Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, also cosponsored the bill, which supporters argued would help prevent gun owners and sportsmen from suffering hearing loss caused by the loud noise of shooting.
Chabot, Wenstrup, Johnson, Latta, Renacci and Gibbs are also among the cosponsors of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill that would allow concealed carry across state lines.
The bill would allow concealed carry gun owners in one state to be able to use that permit in another state with concealed carry laws. Chabot, Wenstrup and Johnson are original cosponsors of that bill, as is Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton. Davidson, Jordan, and Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington and Dave Joyce, R-Russell Township, are also sponsors of that bill. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, cosponsored a Senate version of that bill.
On the other side of the debate, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, who once could claim an A ranking from the National Rifle Association, now is a cosponsor of major Democratic proposals aimed at tightening gun rules in the wake of the shooting deaths of 58 in Las Vegas and 26 in Texas on Sunday. Ryan, along with Reps. Joyce Beatty of Jefferson Township, Marcy Kaptur of Toledo and Marcia Fudge of Cleveland signed onto a bill that would ban “bump stocks,” devices that can rig semi-automatic weapons to fire at the speed of automatic weapons. The Las Vegas shooter was believed to have used those devices in his attacks. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has signed onto a Senate version of that bill.
And all four Ohio Democrats cosponsored a bill that would create a Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.
The disparity between Republicans and Democrats could be seen Monday in the reactions to the shootings. While Republicans expressed grief for the loss of those in Texas, Democrats were pointed In calling for an end to gun violence.
“Jane & I are devastated by the news out of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” Portman tweeted. “We send our prayers to that community & first responders at the scene.
Tiberi called it “incomprehensible” that a gun man would bring “such evil violence to a place of worship.”
“I can’t imagine the loss and grief the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas, is feeling,” Tiberi said. “My prayers are with them.”
Only Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, alluded to the gun issue, saying it appeared that the shooter, because of his prior record of domestic violence “should not have been allowed to acquire a weapon.”
“We need to enforce our nation’s laws, and I want to learn more details about what happened,” he said.
By contrast, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, called for Congress to work together “so that no family has to experience the agonizing loss of a loved one because of gun violence.”
“It is long past time that we work together as a country to stop the bloodshed—we owe it to the people of Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Newtown, and Aurora, as well as the countless Americans that are victims every day across the country,” she said.
Jack Torry contributed to this report.