By Ed Runyan
U.S. Rep Tim Ryan met with about a dozen gun owners, concealed-carry trainers, gun dealers and sportsmen Tuesday to gather information and ideas on how to reduce problems with gun violence with acceptable effects on people who use guns legally.
Ryan met with about 15 law enforcement officers and prosecutors Jan. 31 to have a similar discussion with them.
Ryan of Niles, D-13th, said he’s hopeful that by talking with the two groups he can “come up with some ideas that are creative, doable that will actually address the issue of: How do you keep guns out of the hands of people who are criminals and those people with mental health issues.”
Ryan and Denny Malloy of Trumbull County, who is regional director of Whitetails Unlimited and a member of other area sportsmen’s clubs, told reporters after the meeting at Ryan’s Warren office that the discussion was productive.
Ryan said he believes the information he has gathered can “break the logjam” of extreme points of view on gun issues and “thread the needle, find those ideas that will actually solve the problem.”
Ryan said he would like to propose legislation in the next few weeks reflecting a “sensible approach to these problems.”
When pressed for specifics, Malloy said gun owners are willing to “subject ourselves as a legal firearm-owning community to certain hurdles to go through to make sure guns stay out of the hands of people who aren’t supposed to have them.”
He said the gun owners also believe there should be a greater emphasis on enforcing the gun laws on the books now.
For example, three of the worst places for gun violence are New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago, which have the “toughest gun laws in the country,” Malloy said.
“Why are we to think it’s going to work just adding more laws to the books? We need to give law enforcement, we need to give judges more of a mandate that they need to put criminals away that aren’t supposed to have” guns, Malloy said.
“In Ohio half a million people hunt and a couple million people owns guns that will never ever cause a crime, that do it for hobby, for sport, that bond with their family around the shooting range, and marksmanship and sportsmanship that’s been a part of our heritage since Day 1 in this country,” Malloy said.
Ryan called himself a “long-time supporter of the 2nd Amendment,” which protects the right of Americans to own guns.
Malloy said gun owners who attended the meeting from around the state Tuesday offered “a lot of facts and a lot of common-sense ammunition” for Ryan to take back to Washington.
Malloy said “hunters, fishermen, shooting enthusiasts are going to support common sense, and we hope the opponents to that would listen to some common-sense approaches that Tim has now and maybe find a little happy medium that all citizens can live with, without negatively affecting our Second Amendment rights.”
“A lot of times the people who are not pro-gun don’t understand our point of view,” Malloy said. “They don’t come from a rural lifestyle. They are negatively impacted by the media, and shock-drama kind of scares them to go against us. We hope we can educate and let people know we’re just normal citizens.”