Sen. Portman throws support behind red flag laws but says no law can fix ‘fundamental culture problems’

The Spectrum

(WCMH) — Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman spoke out against the forces of white nationalism this week and in support of red flag laws, but it wasn’t enough for those who say he is beholden to gun lobbyists.

Portman is in the crosshairs of activists demanding new controls on guns and the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. Protesters lined up outside his house in the wake of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings.

Portman has accepted more than $3 million in campaign donations from the National Rifle Association. Fewer than a dozen lawmakers on Capitol Hill have taken more from the gun rights organization.

In the days after the Dayton shooting, Portman spoke out against white supremacy and in favor of mental health-based red flag laws but has been silent about banning assault rifles.

“If you look at the suicide rates, if you look at the addiction rates, this community has done a good job responding to it, but it’s been at Ground Zero in terms of the opioid crisis as well,” Portman said. “If you look at the mental health crisis in our country today, there aren’t enough laws. And, in fact, no law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face today as a country.”

Portman, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley joined President Donald Trump as he toured the Miami Valley Hospital this week. They were all united in their praise for Dayton police officers but still far apart on what should happen next.  

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