Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) announced Tuesday his support for a ban on sales of “military style weapons” following the deadly mass shooting in downtown Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend.
“I believe these are necessary steps forward in protecting our country and a testament to American values, which include protecting human life,” Turner, who represents Dayton, said in a statement.
“I understand not every shooting can be prevented or stopped from these measures, but I do believe these steps are essential,” the congressman added, while making it clear he still supported the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution.
Turner, a Dayton native, said he would also support legislation placing restrictions on high-capacity magazines as well as so-called red-flag laws, which allow police and family members to “quickly identify people who are dangerous and remove their ability to harm others.”
The suspected gunman legally purchased a military-style rifle online from a gun store in Texas and had it shipped to Ohio. Neither state bans AR-style weapons, the type often used in mass shootings, including the one in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.
Police said the suspected Dayton shooter also had a drum magazine that can carry up to 100 rounds of ammunition, and, in total, he was armed with 250 rounds. Using the modification allowed him to kill nine people and injure 27 others within 30 seconds of opening fire outside a bar in Dayton.
“If the police had not been present and able to instantly respond, the casualties would have been astronomical,” Turner said in his statement.
Turner tweeted Saturday that his daughter and her friend were across the street when the shooting began.
“My daughter & a family friend had just entered the Tumbleweed Connection when the shooting began across the street. Both reported of the visible @DaytonPolice presence before the shooting and the bravery they witnessed as officers ran toward the gunshots,” he wrote.
Though there is some bipartisan agreement in Washington on the need for red-flag laws to mitigate the threat posed by mass shooters, lawmakers remain far apart on other gun control measures, including limits on magazine capacity and bans on assault weapons.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), for example, has been a rare Republican voice of support for legislation expanding background checks on all gun buyers. Democrats have demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reconvene the Senate from its summer recess to hold a vote on such a bill this month in the wake of the shootings.
But at the same time, Toomey reiterated his opposition to renewing the federal ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004,
“The category referred to as assault weapons are overwhelmingly very popular firearms that have no more firepower than ordinary hunting rifles,” Toomey said in an interview Monday. “I don’t think we are going to make progress if we go after categories of very, very popular and widely owned firearms.”