COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In the wake of the killing of two police officers in Westerville and the school shooting in Parkland, Florida a group of protesters gathered in front of U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s Columbus office Thursday afternoon.
About two dozen people showed up carrying signs that accused Portman of accepting “blood money” from the NRA and demanding he donate that money to the victims of gun violence.
The group of concerned citizens lamented what they call legislative inaction.
“Senator Portman is in a position to do something to try to make the situation better in our country in regards to gun violence and gun safety and he’s just not doing anything,” said Mia Lewis, one of the organizers of the protest.
Susan Haas, another protestor, also showed up with her dog Lucy and a sign that read, “How many kids died to re-elect you?”
“Enough is enough, you know; I don’t have children but my poster says it all,” said Haas.
They call the funds donated to Portman’s campaigns for re-election blood money and estimate the NRA has given him more than $3 million.
Former U.S. Congresswoman from Columbus Mary Jo Kilroy has an idea what Portman and other lawmakers at the state and federal level can do with the donations they received from the NRA.
“I don’t think they should return it to the NRA; it should go to pay some recompense to the families who have lost loved ones in these mass shootings,” said Kilroy.
Emmalee Kalmbach a spokesperson with Portman’s office released this statement Thursday:
“This is an unspeakable tragedy. Senator portman and his wife, Jane, send their prayers to the victims, their families, and the entire school community.”
Protestors took umbrage with the sentiment and don’t think thoughts and prayers are enough.
In addition to their demonstration protestors delivered comments made online from those who could not attend and those written in person on the street.
The demonstration was orderly and did not block the sidewalk or the building’s entrance, as such security allowed protestors to go up to Portman’s office in small groups of five at a time.