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Sen. Portman says politics played no factor in his vote

Published: Fri, April 19, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

By David Skolnick



U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said his opposition to expanding background checks for firearms purchases “isn’t about politics.”

“It’s about principles, and I take that very seriously,” said Portman, a Republican, in a Thursday conference call with journalists.

Portman voted Wednesday against a bill to include private sales at gun shows and all Internet sales but exempt most sales among family members.

That vote prompted state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, a Democrat from Youngstown, to declare his candidacy against the Republican in the 2016 election.

When asked Thursday about Hagan’s candidacy and criticism, Portman laughed and said, “I’m going to keep looking for solutions to gun violence.”

The senator also said, “Instead of making this partisan, I’ll continue to work” on this issue.

In response, Hagan said, “I’m not going to let this guy off the hook. He’s got to answer to the 90 percent of people who favor background checks. I’m going to hold him accountable.”

Hagan accused Portman of being “owned” by the National Rifle Association, which opposed the bill.

The NRA spent $1,189,179 on independent expenditure ads to help get Portman elected to the Senate in 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors and compiles federal campaign-finance information.

That’s the fourth highest amount spent that year by the NRA on a Senate campaign.

When asked about Hagan’s NRA comment, Portman said he is “not representing any organizations. I represent the people of Ohio.”

Portman joined most Republicans and five Democrats in voting against the bill to expand background checks. Four Republicans supported it. The amendment needed 60 votes to move forward. It was approved 54-46.

“Frankly, it wouldn’t have made a difference in Newtown,” Conn., Portman said. A gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a school there last December.

Portman said the amendment makes it “more difficult for law-abiding Ohioans to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights” to bear arms.

Problems include exemptions to background checks for extended family members only up to first cousins, and ransactions online, including Facebook, among close friends and family members, Portman said.

“He’s more worried about his second cousin than the 20 children” in Newtown, Hagan said. “I will hound him and others who voted against background checks.”

Portman supported legislation that also didn’t pass the Senate on Wednesday to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, increase resources for prosecution of gun crime, address mental illness in the criminal-justice system, and strengthen criminal law for illegal firearm trafficking.


1HappyBob(355 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Portman told Plain Dealer that NRA had nothing to do with his votes. Portman explained that he voted just the way his constituents asked him to vote.


Portman's constituents asked him to keep the penalty for gun running LOW ???

His voters asked him to vote AGAINST the gun trafficking amendment that would increase the penalty for persons convicted of purposefully selling guns to felons for profit ??

His voters didn't want people convicted of selling guns out of the trunk of their car to gangs to have a longer sentences ??

If that's what his voters asked him to do, to vote against harsher penalties for gun trafficking then he is getting his directions from gang leaders and criminals.

There is NO valid excuse to vote against the gun trafficking amendment.

Portman is a disgrace.

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2chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Using Happybob's analysis, that makes Democrat Senators Max Baucus, Begich, Pryor, Hetkamp and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all a disgrace.

Did I mention that they were all Demncrats too?

The leader of the Democrats in the US Senate, Harry Reid, voted against the Machin-Toomey amendment and not a whimper from the ant-gun groups.

Wonder how timmie ryan would have voted. Is timmie still around?

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3seinfried(19 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Seriously can we defend these voting against? Other than big money makes no sense.. I don't care what party they call themselves and neither should anyone else. Has money taken over our democracy? seems

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4fcb(430 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The ones that voted against it are OWNED by the NRA.They are looking out for their own interests and not the people they represent. They should all be ashamed. It would be different if one of their children or grandchildren were gunned down in a grade school.Honestly,I don't know how they can look in the mirror.

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5HappyBob(355 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

@ chuck_carney

You don't have the facts straight. The vote on harsher penalties for gun runners failed 58 to 42. (60 was needed to pass)

ALL of the Republicans except Collins of Maine voted to BLOCK increasing sentencing.

All of the Democrats voted to increase the sentencing for gun running.

Portman is my Senator, I asked him to vote in favor of passage. If I believe what he says now, he saying that more people told him to allow gun runners a more relaxed sentence.

I just can not accept that a majority of his constituents told him to go easy on convicted gun runners.

Either his constituents are promoting criminal behavior or his is lying

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6glbtactivist(305 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

He is lying. Vast majority of Ohioans support gun control. He can not be trusted. Face it, he was George Bush's financial advisor. Can't be trusted.

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7mrblue(1170 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Portman is full of it and he is owned by the NRA. It's that simple.

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8Billyc1943(21 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

His vote on the gun runners shows where his heart is.
He is protecting the black market that provides guns to the gangs.

I can accept that he may have some difference of opinion about the second amendment, but to vote against harsher sentences for gun runners is a step too far to protecting the criminal element.

And now he asks us to believe that most Ohio residents want to provide shelter for these leeches!

His position on gun trafficking ranks up there with being a traitor.

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9RTS1416(117 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Although he voted against the issue of expanded background checks which most folks seem to be in favor of. The last paragraph of the article clearly states that he was in SUPPORT of the legislation to strengthen laws for illegal firearm trafficking.

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10redeye1(5423 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Most of you posters are nothing more then a bunch of whinning liberals who didn't get their way. I for one called and ask that he vote against all the new gun laws. Why ? you may ask its simple once OBAMMY got part of the so-called deal, he could have issued an executive order to cover the rest. But by losing everything he can't. I for one and my family will be voting for Sen Portman again

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11Billyc1943(21 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

@RTS in post number 9
Please see:

Rob Portman recorded vote is AGAINST the Leahy amendment # 713. The purpose of which was: "To increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking."

Read the amendment, its sole purpose was to increase jail time for persons convicted of gun trafficking. It included nothing else!

Skolnick may be right that he supported, he just didn't vote like he supported.

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12RTS1416(117 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the info, I was relying on the article.

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13Billyc1943(21 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Right, mrrightsometimes,

Lets also thank Rob Portman for protecting convicted gun traffickers.

Lets also thank Rob Portman for voting to cut law enforcement grants for states and local governments. That will really help "enforce the laws" !!!

Fortunately the Republicans were not able to get enough votes to do that! But thanks anyway for the effort, Rob

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14papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

liar!! the nra has been lying all along saying if you wanted to buy or sell a firearm to a friend or neighbor you would have to undergo a background check. LIES!! go online and look up TAGGANT, it's a chemical that when added to gunpowder can help id where it came from. an atf official reported the nra lobbyists blocked this from happening. so now, the nra supports killers of children and the bombing of innocent people. if you don't believe me go to, "thelastword@msnbc.com" and you'll find the video. the nra is a bloodsoaked organization that cares more about gunmakers profits than its members 2nd amendment rights. their despicable!!

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15Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

awww the bill didn't pass can I offer you whiners a box of tissue?

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16DSquared(1619 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The left keeps making up BS numbers. Less than ten percent of the US wants more gun control. ( Of course not in THIS valley)

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17Sanjay1976(42 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Probably tissues covered with Portman snot. No thanks

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18Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Midol then?

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19Sanjay1976(42 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Remarks of a PROFESSIONAL mental healthcare worker?
Not very professional

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