Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, whose congressional district includes Dayton, where nine people were killed in a mass shooting over the weekend, endorsed a ban on military-style weapons Tuesday, going further than many of his GOP colleagues on stricter gun laws.
The mass shooting, which came some 13 hours after a deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, was personal for Turner, not only because it occurred in his district but because his daughter and a family friend were at a bar across the street from where the shooting began.
“As they ran home, I followed their progress & prayed for them & our community. Thank you to @DaytonPolice for their bravery in stopping this evil,” Turner tweeted Sunday morning.
Two days later, Turner, who has a 93 percent rating from the National Rifle Association and in February voted against a House-passed bill to expand background checks for firearms, released a statement announcing his support for stopping the sale of assault weapons to civilians, limiting the size of magazines and enacting red-flag laws to bar firearms from any individual considered an imminent threat to themselves or others.
“The carnage these military-style weapons are able to produce when available to the wrong people is intolerable,” Turner said in a statement. “This tragedy must become a catalyst for a broader national conversation about what we can do to stop these mass shootings.”
Turner said he will discuss these measures with President Donald Trump when the president visits Dayton on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Turner would not say what role the congressman’s daughter being at the scene played in his decision to come out publicly for stricter federal firearm policies.
The congressman was not immediately available for an interview.
Turner was elected to the House in 2003. The next year, Congress let lapse a federal ban on assault weapons that had been signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
There was no opportunity for Turner to vote on a major gun law until the February vote this year. His spokeswoman did not respond when asked whether Turner would vote differently on that legislation now.
The closest Congress came to passing a significant change in gun laws occurred in the months after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 students and six school employees. A bipartisan bill co-authored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., to expand background checks came five votes short in the Democratic-led Senate in 2013 but never received a vote in the House.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Colby Itkowitz