In a statement, Portman said he supported the Cornyn proposal because he believed it gave people more due process if they were mistakenly labeled suspected terrorists. He said he also liked a provision in that plan that would allow law enforcement to arrest terror suspects were they caught trying to buy weapons.
“There is a consensus that we should stop suspected terrorists from buying guns, and a consensus that every American should receive due process if they are mistakenly placed on a government watch list,” he said.
“We cannot look people in the eye and say we are doing what it takes to keep Americans safe from homegrown terror unless we are finally willing to pass commonsense laws to keep weapons of war out of the hands of terrorists and violent criminals,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who cosponsored the Feinstein amendment. “It is commonsense that if the FBI decides someone is too dangerous to get on an airplane, they are too dangerous to buy an assault rifle.”
The senators also voted along party lines on two amendments aimed at tweaking the background check system. Both of those amendments failed as well.
Portman’s Senate opponent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, said Portman demonstrated “an astounding lack of courage” in his failure to vote on Democratic measures. “He has failed this test of leadership,” Strickland said.