The recent school shooting in Florida reignited the debate over gun control and the politics behind it.
Several recent bills introduced in Ohio died, despite a 2017 Gallup poll showing that sixty percent of the public wants stricter laws.
We wanted to find out why.
Just days after seventeen people were shot dead at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Students marched on the State capitol demanding gun rights legislators to consider banning assault rifles.
The measure was rejected.
So it was no surprise that after the Chardon shooting, not one, but two pieces of gun control legislation, including a third bill requiring metal detectors in schools, were ignored by legislators.
"They do that job to keep the job, rather than doing the job because it is the job," says Representative Patmon.
He reintroduced three of the bills, as well as a new one the following year, which were also ignored.
And they were ignored for a third time when he reintroduced them two years later.
"There is a strong lobby that prevents much of what we believe should be done in this county…including with guns," he says.
And that's the charge from gun control advocates, some of whom recently took out an ad in the New York Times listing lawmakers who quote “take NRA money and block gun control.
According to the group Everytown For Gun Safety, which took out the ad, Ohio received the fourth highest amount of contributions with $1,909,970. It was led by Senator Rob Portman, who the group says took $1,472,789.
"Groups don't donate to someone to buy their vote. Groups donate to people who already support what they're advocating," says Jim Irvine.
Irvine represents the gun rights group Buckeye Firearms, which donated $44,555 to
State legislators 2006. That’s according to www.followthemoney.org a nonprofit organization that tracks campaign finance data.
He agrees we need a solution, but disagrees with the proposed laws, including Patmon's, requiring guns be locked up in homes with children.
"There are already laws on the books that require us to have safe homes. If you leave a gun out it's reckless endangerment and we prosecute," he says.
It should be noted though, that the committee members who declined to vote on Patmon's bills, have collectively received more than $100,000 dollars in donations from gun rights supporters.
"I want to work with the other side but if what they want to do is ban guns, that's a proven failure. I don't want to repeat a proven failure, I want to solve a problem," Irvine says.
Representative Patmon has reintroduced the bills in this latest legislature, adding one to ban bump stocks. It hasn’t been voted on yet. But he's hopeful, given the president's recent comments, opening the door to some type of gun control legislation.
Portman's office issued the following statement to WKYC:
“Rob’s priority is doing what’s right for the people of Ohio and that alone is what guides his legislative decisions in Washington. The premise that Rob doesn’t support common-sense restrictions on guns is false. Rob supports Americans’ second amendment rights, but he also believes there are ways we can work together to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with mental health issues. He supports efforts to strengthen the national background check system and help reduce gun violence.”