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October 19, 2022

#GUNVOTE Quick Shot: Ohio Senate Debate

By Larry Keane

The U.S. Senate race in Ohio is shaping up to be one of the most critical races to determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the upper chamber in the next Congress.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced his retirement, opening up the race in a state that former President Donald Trump carried in the 2020 election by 8 points. Now U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is facing off against Republican challenger J.D. Vance in a race polling shows is very close, just three weeks from Election Day. Where the candidates stand on Second Amendment issues could decide the outcome of the race and with it control of the Senate.

The two candidates faced off in a debate where #GUNVOTE® issues played out prominently.

Rep. Ryan’s Flawed Record

Rep. Ryan repeated his call for more federal gun control.

“You can’t watch the level of violence that we have here and not think we need background checks,” he said. “We need to close the gun show loophole. We need to make sure that these weapons of war are not readily available.”

Rep. Ryan repeats the gun show loophole myth. What he didn’t tell voters is that every firearm purchased at retail requires the purchaser to pass an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification. Most gun sales at gun shows are through firearm retailers, so the same rules still apply as if the sale was occurring at a brick-and-mortar location. Or that criminals rarely purchase firearms at gun shows, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Rep. Ryan is talking about interjecting government between private transfers, a scheme that doesn’t work unless there is a national firearm registry. He won’t admit that, though.

Most recently, Rep. Ryan voted in Congress to ban an entire class of commonly owned firearms that law-abiding Americans have purchased in record numbers over the past few years. There are more than 24.4 million Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) in circulation today, more than F-150 pickup trucks on the road. Rep. Ryan wants to ban them, calling them “assault rifles” or “weapons of war.” They, of course, are civilian semiautomatic rifles and different from the military firearms used today.

He has also voted ‘Yes’ on every Democratic-sponsored gun control bill coming to vote in Congress since 2018. This includes co-sponsoring and voting for the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 and 2022, as well as voting to enact strict “red flag” laws that deny Due Process rights for those accused. Prior to Democratic control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Rep. Ryan voted against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act as well as a federal law prohibiting the District of Columbia from instituting their own strict gun control laws. He’s voted with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 100 percent of the time.

Challenger’s Support for Second Amendment

Republican challenger J.D. Vance made it known he’d support law-abiding Ohioans and their ability to legally purchase firearms. He noted the crime spike is responsible for violence that worries Ohioans and that criminals aren’t obeying the law. Soft-on-crime prosecutors are refusing to hold criminals accountable for their crimes, Vance argued.

“I’m a big pro-Second Amendment guy and I know a lot of people who will strongly, stridently defend the Second Amendment. None of them think convicted felons, who have been afforded their Due Process rights should be able to buy firearms and then kill people. But here’s the thing – the reason why we have skyrocketing gun violence in this country is because Democrats and Tim Ryan are [deciding] to declare war on America’s police,” Vance shot back to Rep. Ryan. “We didn’t have it two years ago, five years ago, and nothing significantly changed in the gun laws.

“We need to fix the system we have that has problems as opposed to layering on a bunch of new regulations and laws on top of it,” Vance added. “The thing that I don’t like is when you create a new background check system with new sets of regulations that go after law-abiding citizens.”

The U.S. Senate is currently dead-locked at 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting any tie-breaking votes. The Ohio election could have a deciding impact on Senate control. Ohio voters – and the rest of the nation – head to the polls on Nov. 8 and #GUNVOTE so they don’t risk their rights.

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