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NRA-backed Republicans call for action on gun violence after Ohio mass shooting

Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, and Rep. Mike Turner have had enough.

NRA-endorsed Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R) have both bucked the group to back action after mass shootings in Dayton.
NRA-endorsed Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R) have both bucked the group to back action after mass shootings in Dayton. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

In the wake of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine people dead, three of Ohio’s most prominent Republicans have called for immediate legislative action to reduce gun violence. All three were endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which has virulently opposed any meaningful actions to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

On Sunday, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) was drowned out by chants of “Do something” as he attempted to speak at a vigil. DeWine, who had a mixed record on gun control as U.S. senator but had earned the NRA’s endorsement in his 2018 race after shifting to a gun-rights platform, got the message.

On Monday, DeWine proposed a series of new laws including a red-flag law to temporarily disarm those who pose a risk to themselves or others and an expansion of background checks for gun purchases. The NRA says it “opposes expanding firearm background check systems, because background checks don’t stop criminals from getting firearms.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), whom the NRA endorsed last year citing his “proven pro-Second Amendment record” and his commitment “to protecting our right to self-defense,” also bucked the group to call for new gun laws. After revealing that his own daughter had been across the street from the mass shooting when it happened, Turner endorsed red-flag laws, magazine limits, and a ban on military-style assault weapons. The NRA has fiercely opposed the limits on magazines and guns.

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On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Jon Husted (R-OH), who was also endorsed by the NRA last year for his “commitment to protecting the Second Amendment,” told CNN that he was confident that the GOP-controlled Ohio legislature would pass the governor’s proposals. He said he and DeWine had created the plan in coordination with the state’s gun-rights community and urged action at the federal level because “you can’t have states where you can have access to certain things and not in others.”

The shift comes at a time when the American people’s views of the NRA have turned negative. Polls show the nation has strongly rejected the organization’s intransigent positions on background checks and other safety measures in recent years, and as of October last year, approximately 61% of Americans were in favor of stricter laws for firearm sales.