WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who signed laws making it potentially legal to carry concealed weapons at day-care facilities and college campuses, said he has “no confidence” Congress will approve what he called “common sense” gun laws” in the wake of a mass shooting last week at a Florida high school.
During an interview Sunday on CNN’s State-of-the-Union, Kasich, who earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association during his 2014 re-election campaign, indicated he would support “reasonable things,” such as full background checks for people buying guns and banning what are known as bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic weapon to fire like an automatic weapon.
“You’re never going to fix all of this,” Kasich said. “But common sense gun laws make sense.”
In a major reversal, Kasich suggested he might support a ban on an the sale of AR-15 semi-automatic weapons like the one used in the Florida attack. Kasich 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-darned AR-15?”
“These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen,” Kasich said.
In 1994 as a member of Congress, Kasich voted to ban the production and sale of 19 semi-automatic assault weapons. But when he ran for president in 2016, Kasich called the ban “superfluous and we don’t need laws that are superfluous. It didn’t have any impact.”
The ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons expired in 2004 when Congress failed to renew it.
Kasich said he has formed a committee “on both sides of the issue” in Ohio to “look at everything” about improving gun safety. Neither Kasich nor his aides have said who is on the committee, but he said he was “hopeful” they would produce recommendation.
“If they don’t produce anything, I’ll put my own stuff out,” Kasich said.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said he was “glad” Kasich is on national TV and “speaking out” on guns.
“Hopefully he’s got some ability to work with the statehouse to find solutions and roll back some of the worst pieces of legislation they pushed through in the last seven years,” Pepper said.