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Kasich: D.C. needs to address gun issue

Ohio governor cites work of state committee

WASHINGTON — Ohio Gov. John Kasich says “action has to happen” in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Florida on what he says is a “commonsense” approach to gun laws.

Kasich appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday, where he was interviewed on the topic by host Dana Bash.

The governor’s segment was followed an interview with three survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student killed 17 people last week in one of the deadliest shootings in the nation’s history.

“Young people are amazing, and my hope is with them,” Kasich said of the students. “They’re absolutely right when they say that politicians have not been responding to any of this. You take a look at the Congress, and I think the Congress is totally dysfunctional.”

Kasich said enacting change is easier at the statehouse level, where voters have more access to officials. He said, in Ohio, he has formed a committee to focus on gun laws.

“We’re looking at everything, full background checks, including casual sales,” he said. “We’re going to ask them to up the look at in terms of people having emotional problems ought to be able to go out and buy guns.”

The governor said officials need to address bump stocks, which he said make weapons fully automatic.

“I was talking to a friend of mine this morning,” Kasich said. “He’s a big collector. I said, ‘If all of a sudden, you couldn’t buy an AR-15, what would you lose? Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn’t buy a God-darn AR-15?’”

Kasich stressed that he is pro-Second Amendment, but he said those who are in favor of the right to bear arms should consider reforms.

“If you’re a strong Second Amendment person, you need to slow down and take a look at reasonable things that can be done to answer these young people,” he said. “You’re never going to fix all of this, but commonsense gun laws make sense. And I’m hopeful that this group that I have assembled on both sides of the issue are going to come together with recommendations.”

Kasich said Ohio’s speaker of the house, Republican Cliff Rosenberger, “is anxious to see what can be produced.”

CNN noted on Monday that Kasich seems to be moderating his stance on the issue.

The network found that Kasich had changed a section of his campaign website, formerly titled, “Defending the Second Amendment,” which had featured photos of the governor and an ammunition store, cited his 2014 endorsement by the National Rifle Association and his opposition to what it described as “Barack Obama’s gun control efforts.”

The updated section had been renamed “Common sense on the Second Amendment,” no longer featured the photos and stated Kasich “recognizes the need for common-sense solutions to our nation’s problems.”

Accompanying text now reads, “In recent years, our country has been devastated by a dramatic increase in school shootings and mass killings — many with the use of semi-automatic weapons.

Governor Kasich believes that we should not be afraid to learn from these tragedies and take appropriate action.”

While Kasich has, in recent years, taken a stance more in line with the NRA, he has not always been favored by the group, which opposed his run for governor in 2010.

In 1994, Kasich, then a member of Congress, voted in favor of an assault weapons ban, for which the group had given him an “F” on their score of voting records.

Shannon Wheeler, the founder of Moms Demand, a gun control group, responded to Kasich’s appearance on the show, by critiquing his stance on the issue in his years as governor and asked for specifics.

“John Kasich has an A-rating from the NRA and, in 2016, he signed a bill into law that allowed guns in Ohio daycares, bars, airports and on college campuses,” she posted on Twitter. “There‘s no law in Ohio requiring a background check on private gun sales. So what’s Kasich calling for, exactly?”

His remarks drew criticism from some gun rights group.

Doug Deeken, director of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the governor was engaged in a “naked political ploy” in preparation for a run for president against Trump in 2020.

Kasich, who ran unsuccessfully for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, which went to Trump, has denied that he is considering a run.