Why Gov. Kasich changed his mind on gun control

Posted at 7:42 AM, Apr 19, 2018

After the Las Vegas shooting in October, Ohio Gov. John Kasich set out to assemble a group of leaders from diverse backgrounds with differing opinions on guns to tackle some common sense gun reforms. 

Earlier this year the group came up with a list of six proposals that are now before the legislature include closing gaps in the background check system, crack down on the practice of third-party gun purchases, prohibiting the sale of armor-piercing ammunition and keeping weapons out of the hands of potentially violent or dangerous people.

"If somebody is unstable and they can pose a threat to their family, to themselves or to somebody else, you go to court, you can make the case and you can take their guns," Kasich said. "This makes total common sense."

"You have to have reporting," Kasich said of another provision. "When you have governments that are not reporting and when you have felons being able to get guns, that's a disaster."

Kasich has long been a supporter of gun rights, proudly acknowledging that he's signed every pro-Second Amendment bill that's crossed his desk, so what's changed?

"Nobody could see what's happened here within the last six months and not have their eyes opened to this whole thing," Kasich said of the shootings in Parkland, Florida in February that claimed 17 lives, Sutherland Springs, Texas in November that saw 26 killed and Las Vegas in October that claimed 58 lives. 

They are three of the six deadliest shootings in the U.S. since Columbine on April 20, 1999, and they've all occurred in the last few months.

"We don't want to be in the business of taking people's guns but there are reasonable limits," Kasich said of the panel's recommendations. "We had pro-gun people who wanted no changes in the law vs. people who are Second Amendment advocates but want significant changes and they came together on this package. I mean you couldn't come up with a package that frankly is any better that meets people half-way."

After one of these mass shootings legislation dealing with gun violence reform is often like a firework, it burns bright, commands a lot of attention for a short while, then fades away.

"My fear is you could be right," Kasich said of the potential of the same thing happening again. "But I think that there are now enough motivated groups, people who have experienced this whether its Parkland, whether it's the great tragedy in [Newtown] Connecticut, they're determined."

"There's a deep intensity on this but I've argued all along if it doesn't display itself this will fade away again until there's another tragedy," he said.

Kasich was reminded that some of the biggest obstacles he's faced in some of his political fights as governor have been a legislature controlled by Republicans who aren't likely to vote in favor of many gun reforms. He pointed to what he's always said about true change in America coming from the bottom up and if the people use their voices to call for action, legislators may be compelled to act.