COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A rally for what supporters call a common sense gun law stopped in Columbus Tuesday. The "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" rally is part of a 25-state, 100 day bus tour aimed at urging America's leaders to back legislation to increase background checks on gun purchases.
"This will help save lives. This will help keep the bad guns off streets and the criminals' hands," said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Supporters of the legislation claim it remains far too easy for criminals, domestic abusers, the seriously mentally ill, and other dangerous individuals who know they can't pass background checks to get guns either online or at gun shows where background checks are not required.
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey would have closed that loophole by extending background checks to commercial gun sales. 83 percent of Ohioans support background checks for all gun sales, according to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group formed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"This isn't the Panacea, but it certainly does help when we're able to keep the violent guns off the street," Coleman said.
Speakers at the rally called on Ohio's Republican Senator Rob Portman to change his mind and support the legislation. In a statement, Portman said the legislation wouldn't have a "meaningful impact on the unacceptable level of daily gun violence on the streets of Columbus and other places in Ohio."
He wants to see current laws enforced and background checks strengthened to include better mental health records along with addressing the nation's drug and gang problem.
The rally also drew about 30 people opposed to the plan.
"What it is is creating a loophole for them to have a back door registration," said Brent Pucillo from Kent.
He says without a national registration the bill would be unenforcible and he doesn't think it will prevent one crime or save one life because it only targets law abiding citizens.
Jim Griffin of Columbus doesn't like the idea of comprehensive background checks for gun purchases.
"We wouldn't tolerate comprehensive background checks before you exercise your right to free speech, would we, or before you exercise your right to peacefully assemble? Of course not. It's not a right if you've got someone that can sit there and tell you when you can exercise it," he said.
Chuck LaRosa of Pataskala thinks arming teachers and staff at schools is the best way to prevent another Sandy Hook Elementary School-type incident from happening again.
"It's a damn shame she (principal at the school) had nothing better to defend those kids with than her own body," he said.
One of the speakers at the event was Carlee Soto. Her older sister, Vicki Soto, was one of the teachers killed in the shootings in Newtown. She doesn't believe that armed employees in the school would have mattered.
"My sister would never have thought to pick up a gun and hold it and try killing someone instead of getting in front of her kids and shielding them and doing whatever it took to try and save those kids," Soto said.
She said no one is trying to take away guns from law abiding citizens, but instead just making sure that firearms only make it into the hands of those who don't intend to break the law.
Soto said she watched the coverage of the shootings at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, but never imagined that months later she would be dealing with a similar tragedy.
"It's my reality now. It's my life. I have to deal with this each and every day. I have to deal with the fact that my sister was gunned down in her first grade classroom and she's never coming home," she said.