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Government and Politics

Republican Sen. Portman may be ready for an assault weapons ban
He's also considering the rules governing background checks

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M.L. Schultze
Sen. Rob Portman voted against an assault weapons ban 18 years ago, but says circumstances may have changed.
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Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman said today he could be open to new gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons that he voted against when he was new to Congress in 1994. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

SCHULTZE: Portman on assault-style weapons and background checks

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In a conference call with reporters, Portman stood by his vote as a freshman congressman 18 years ago against a ban on assault-style weapons.

“I don’t regret my vote because I made it based on the facts at hand, which was that this would not have an impact on crime and that specifically these tended not to be the weapons that were being used.”

The ban passed, despite Portman’s vote. But Congress let it expire 10 years later.

Now President Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing a new ban. And Portman says he’ll seriously consider it and other potential restrictions.

“I want to look now at data is during that period, when the ban was in place was it effective?  Is there a way to tighten up existing laws is something I’m always interested in, including the way the waiting period works for people with a mental health history.”

Portman says the country also should consider allowing armed guards in schools. And he says he doesn’t want to go too far restricting guns. 

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