Coleman, Other Mayors Keep Pressure On Portman To Change Gun Vote

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UPDATED: Wednesday August 21, 2013 5:55 PM

Nearly 90 mayors from around Ohio have sent a letter to Republican Sen. Rob Portman, urging him to reverse his vote against background checks for gun buyers at gun shows.

"Mayors all over this state are working to get guns off the street, and it's a very reasonable and common sense thing to close the gun show loophole," said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.  "All it does is ask for people's background.  It is provided for regular dealers in the state, so why not gun shows?"

The letter Coleman and the other mayors sent Portman criticizes the Senate's failure to pass a background check law.

"We are calling on you to join us and stand with the overwhelming majority of your constituents who support this tough-on-crime measure and to help protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence that claims 33 Americans every day,” the letter stated.

"I respect and admire Sen. Portman, but this is one we just don't agree on," said Coleman.  "We have to focus in on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.  One of the ways to do it is check their background."

Portman’s office says he received the letter Wednesday morning.

While Portman voted against the background check legislation in April, he was not the deciding vote.  

It failed 54-46 in a Democrat-majority Senate.

Through a spokesman, Portman said he "is eager to work with anyone willing to support legislation that has a proven track record of breaking the cycle of violence."

Portman cited his support of the Neighborhood Safety Act and reauthorization of the Second Chance Act and the Drug Free Communities Act as examples of ways to reduce gun violence.

A separate email from Portman's staff included a list of statistics on why the law wasn’t needed.

It also suggested Coleman, and the other mayors, are focused on the issue because of politics.

That’s an accusation Coleman says is not true.

"Whenever I see a funeral in our city, whenever I see an AK-47 being used in our city against police as well as individuals, that's not politics.  That's people's lives," said Coleman.

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