Carefully aiming a pistol, Janet Garrett shot a perfect bullseye through a paper target 20 feet away.
A candidate for Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District seat and a retired Oberlin elementary school teacher, Garrett was invited by Darsan Seebaran, an owner of B&D Shooting Range in Lorain, for some target practice Monday.
“I don’t want people to think that just because I’m a Democrat, I’m advocating for taking people’s guns away from them,” she said. “I think there are some pretty legitimate reasons why people have guns. They might have a family tradition of hunting, they may live in a place where they feel they need home protection, and then there are people like me.”
Garrett is a gun owner and hobbyist and said recreational shooting is a form of stress relief. She and her husband use their .22-caliber pistols at ranges — but the candidate said she refuses to shoot at silhouettes.
Too much public debate over firearms focuses on extreme positions, according to Garrett. Most Americans are in favor of common sense gun safety legislation.
“The best thing we can do is require universal background checks and get rid of the gun show loophole,” she said. “Is that going to stop criminals from breaking into somebody’s house and stealing their guns? No — but we can slow them down and make it harder for them to get guns.”
People who have a history of domestic violence shouldn’t have guns at all, she said.
This is Garrett’s third run against U.S. Representative Jim Jordan for a seat in office but Garrett said this time is “completely different.”
The first and second campaigns were run by volunteers. Now Garrett said she has a professional, paid staff.
Since Jordan was accused of sitting on sexual abuse complaints about Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss — Jordan was an assistant coach — donations have surged into Garrett’s campaign from all over the country.
“We’re getting a lot more attention than we’ve gotten in the past,” she said. “The mood of the country is starting to change. Politics is all about timing and this is our year.”
Jordan has been in office for too long, Garrett said. In his 11 years, he’s had no legislative successes and no initiatives in the district, so he’s “got to go,” she said.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.