The number of newly issued concealed-weapons licenses in Ohio is climbing at a record-breaking pace.
CLEVELAND - When Congress approved an assault weapons ban in September 1994, Rep. Marcy Kaptur was one of only two Ohio members of the House of Representatives still in the House to vote on it. She voted for it, the other, Rep. John Boehner voted against it.
While not much has changed in that respect, what has changed in the present battle is the divisiveness of the fight. For example siding with Boehner, in at least their vote against the ban in 1994 were Ohio Democrats like Lou Stokes and Ted Strickland. Voting with Kaptur were Republicans like John Kasich.
"Both political parties have moved in with two heavy feet," said Kaptur of the current climate in Washington.
"This really sets member against member in a way that I don't think the public has fully understood. They just read about money and politics and they read about congress and they don't see that they're fused but that system has to be reformed," she said.
In the start of her 30th year in the House, Kaptur is prepared for the fight that will follow on the sweeping plans unveiled Wednesday at the White House to curb gun violence, one that is not at all likely to see the number of members breaking with their party like was seen in the 1994 vote.
"I'm ready for that and I think the country is ready," Kaptur said.
What the president proposed, she called a well thought out set of proposals.
"Beginning with background checks, which I don't think any American really could disagree with; we don't want criminals having various weapons that they can use against innocent citizens."
"In terms of protecting the average citizen, I think background checks make sense, I am someone who has supported a ban on military type weapons in the hands of criminals and I support a cap in terms of ammunition clips," she said supporting the limit of no more than 10 rounds per clip.
Kaptur said she understands the position of gun owners, "the part of Ohio that I represented has a number of gun clubs, law abiding citizens," she said. "So I have respect for weapons."
What she hopes doesn't get lost in the fight are the elements of the reform dealing with mental illness and recognizing the troubles in others before they become troubles for others.
"We have to look at almost every one of these recent terrible, terrible incidents has involved someone with mental illness.
"The proposals regarding those were a step in the right direction. For example school resource officers trying to find the funds, shift the funds from other places in the budget so that our schools have individuals who can work with young people who begin to develop these neurological symptoms through no fault of their own," she said.
"We simply don't do a good enough job their in brining mental health care to young people who need it at an early age."
She also pointed to neurological research ongoing at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University that she has long championed.
"We probably have the largest epidemiological study in the country being conducted by Case," she said.
"Trying to unlock the mysteries of the human brain to understand what is going on that causes individuals to act in such an anti social way, both for children as well as adults.
"So Cleveland has a world class set of scholars that I am trying to push to the front in terms of making sure their ideas, their suggestions, their proposals, their vision of the future is included in what the Obama administration is attempting to achieve."
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