Sen. Rob Portman's (R-Ohio) vote against bipartisan background checks legislation followed him home during the congressional recess, with protests at his events and a request for a meeting from the mother of a gun violence victim.
Portman declined to meet with Jerri Jackson of Springfield, Ohio, who lost her son in the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. and wanted to explain why she supports background checks. His office cited scheduling conflicts.
“I would like for him to at least sit down and talk to me,” Jackson told the Associated Press. "To hear my story and hear the heartbreak of a mother who lost her son in the prime of his life. How guns have played a part in our lives, but it is what ended his life. We need to do something about it."
Jackson told reporters that she believes expanded background checks may have prevented James Holmes, who had a record of mental health issues, from obtaining firearms -- including an assault rifle and high capacity magazines.
“Assault rifles have no place on the streets of America,” Jackson said. “If he did not have that high-powered magazine, he would not have been able to shoot as many people as he did as quickly as he did.”
Portman was one of the lawmakers who voted against the amendment from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to strengthen and expand background checks for gun sales.
After casting his no vote, Portman argued that the Manchin-Toomey amendment would not have been "effective in preventing the kind of heartbreaking loss of life seen in Newtown or in other recent tragic incidents." Instead, he believed the bill would have made it "difficult for law-abiding Ohioans to exercise their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights."
Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also declined to meet with the families of gun violence victims while home for recess.
In a poll released last week by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, Portman was one of a number of senators that have seen their approval ratings drop in the wake of voting no on the background check bill; Portman's approval was down 18 points.
In a poll released by Quinnipiac University on the Friday after the defeat of Manchin-Toomey, 84 percent of Ohioans said they favored universal background checks.
Increase Access To Background Check Data
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
Remove Legal Barriers On Background Checks
Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
Incentivize Sharing Of Background Check Data
Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
Review Criteria For Gun Ownership
Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
Background Checks For Returning Seized Guns?
Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
More Guidance On Background Checks
Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
Safe & Responsible Gun Ownership
Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
Gun Lock & Safes
Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Improve Gun Tracking In Criminal Investigations
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
Report On Lost & Stolen Guns
Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
Nominate a director for Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Training For Law Enforcement
Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
Maximize Enforcement Efforts On Gun Crime
Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
Increase Research On Gun Violence
Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Prioritize New Gun Technology
Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies
Clarify Obamacare On Doctors & Guns
Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
Inform Doctors On Reporting Threats
Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
School Resource Officers
Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
Develop Emergency Response Plans
Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
Clarify Scope Of Medicaid's Mental Health Coverage
Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
Finalize ACA Regulations
Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
Address Mental Health Parity
Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
Start Dialogue On Mental Health
Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.