Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) discussed the need for gun control and criticized the National Rifle Association’s refusal to meet with lawmakers about basic gun safety measures.
Ryan spoke at the Heartland Forum in Iowa on Saturday about a number of issues, including suicide prevention and gun control.
“I support background checks, I support researching this, I support closing the Charleston loophole, I support keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists or people who are on the terrorist watch list,” Ryan said at the Storm Lake forum. “So all of the comprehensive firearm reforms that are out there, I strongly support.”
The congressman, an avid hunter, was once a member of the NRA but said he left over the organization’s inability to address gun violence.
“Here’s the problem I have with the NRA. I used to be a supporter,” he said, but he now rejects money from the NRA, “because they did not even want to come to the table to have a conversation. That’s what infuriated me. How do you watch this on TV and not want to do anything about it? Here’s a perfect example where they could play a constructive role in society about trying to help prevent suicides and how to store your gun properly and all the rest. They don’t even want to have that conversation. So we have to politically overcome that and dominate it.”
After the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left more 58 people dead, Ryan donated a matching sum he had once given to the NRA to gun control groups. The congressman, who previously had an A rating with the gun group, had already been cut off from receiving donations from the NRA when he came out in support of background checks following the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children and six adults dead.
Ryan has said he was “seriously considering” a run for president but has made no official announcement so far. He appeared at the HuffPost co-sponsored Heartland Forum in Iowa with several declared Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.