Ohio Gov. John Kasich says now is the time for “common sense” on gun control, after years of touting his gun ownership rights credentials. But his comments are drawing rebukes from other Republicans and Second Amendment advocates.
Kasich says there needs to be leadership on the issue from the White House and in what he calls the “dysfunctional” Congress in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida.
Karen Kasler of Ohio Public Radio/TV reported after Kasich’s comments in a Sunday interview on CNN that his political web site’s section called “Defending the Second Amendment” had been removed.
On Monday, the campaign site for the frequent critic of President Donald Trump headlined his positions as “Common Sense on the Second Amendment.”
While noting he has signed multiple bills to protect gun rights, the site says Kasich sees the need for “common-sense solutions.” They include potentially expanding background checks for gun sales and limiting the ability to sell the kinds of weapons often used in mass killings, such as the AR-15 rifle used in Parkland.
John Weaver, a strategist for Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, said on Twitter that Kasich’s views “have evolved,” like many, if not most, Americans’.
“We want our leaders to be unafraid to observe, listen & learn,” Weaver wrote.
But others reacted negatively. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday that Doug Deeken, director of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, “slammed Kasich for what he sees as a ‘naked political ploy’ to challenge Trump in 2020.
“It didn’t work in 2016. I don’t think it will work now,” Deeken told the Enquirer.
Likewise, Paulette Donley, chair of the Highland County Republican Party, said Monday, “It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to hear that Kasich is changing his rhetoric on gun control. Most people with common sense know that more gun control will not solve mental health and societal ills.”
But Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said he was glad to see Kasich speaking out nationally on guns, and hopes he will work with the state Legislature to find solutions and roll back past gun legislation.
The johnkasich.com site calls the Second Amendment “one of the most divisive issues in our country. Leadership requires the willingness to tackle these issues and to find solutions.” His campaigns have pointed out his pro-National Rifle Association record and the group’s 2014 endorsement of his re-election campaign.
The Kasich website says now that “as Governor, (Kasich) recently challenged a bipartisan working group of gun owners and gun control advocates to find common ground that will protect the 2nd Amendment and save lives… Our country and our children deserve that leadership.”
Sunday, on CNN, Kasich said, “I believe those who are Second Amendment advocates realize that common-sense, real reforms can happen in this country to answer the critics and the anguish of people all across the country who have lost loved ones.”