John Kasich on Gun Control

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 & 2016 candidate for President


1999: Cool off after school shootings; 2018: time for action

BROKEN PROMISE: After the Columbine school shooting in 1999, Kasich recommended a "cooling-off period after high-profile acts of violence before trying to pass new laws." Until 2015, Kasich maintained the stance that more gun laws wouldn't prevent mass shootings. But after a spate of school shootings and the student-led "March for our Lives" movement in 2018, Kasich yielded, calling for "common sense steps." Clearly, an "evolution" occurred.

ANALYSIS: Kasich claims that he only calls for "small steps" but he lists "background checks and increased attention to mental illness," which are typical first steps recommended by gun control advocates. Kasich also recommends executive action at the federal level, and action at the state and local level-- methods reasonably likely to overcome NRA opposition. Kasich's evolution on this topic now qualifies him as a moderate on gun rights, where prior to 2018 he was hard-line for the Second Amendment.

Source: John Kasich "Promises Broken," by Jesse Gordon , Nov 6, 2018

Learn from mass shooting tragedies and take action

John Kasich supports the Second Amendment and has signed multiple bills to protect gun rights. As a pragmatic conservative Governor Kasich also recognizes the need for common-sense solutions to our nation's problems. 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.

John Kasich has spoken out on the need for reasonable reforms to prevent future massacres--including the potential of expanding background checks on gun sales and limiting the ability to sell weapons that have often been used in mass killings.

The 2nd Amendment is one of the most divisive issues in our country. Leadership requires the willingness to tackle these issues and to find solutions. Our country and our children deserve that leadership.

Source: 2020 presidential hopefuls: campaign website JohnKasich.com , Sep 18, 2018

Significant changes, while we protect the Second Amendment

Q: Over the weekend, we saw thousands of young people marching across the country in support of stricter gun laws. Will gun supporters feel this at the ballot box?

KASICH: I really do believe that. I think the people do want changes here. I think there's three kinds of people who are involved in this gun debate, those that want no changes on guns--believe me, they're there and they're strong--and those people that think there ought to be significant changes, even while we protect the Second Amendment. And the third group are a bunch of politicians who are afraid of their own shadows. But the fact of the matter is, it's a massive effort here. If we can keep the pressure on, we're not going to change everything overnight, but you can get significant changes. And I hope so. And if they do not bring about change, I think people should be held absolutely accountable at the ballot box, and no question about it.

Source: CNN 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Mar 25, 2018

We need bipartisan gun reform to deal with mass shootings

Kasich's own public stances on guns have varied throughout his political career. Kasich supported the assault weapons ban in the 1990s and earned the ire of the National Rifle Association. As governor years later, he signed legislation supported by gun rights advocates and touted his improved position with the NRA.

Last year, legislation Kasich signed went into effect that expanded where people can carry concealed handguns to include willing colleges and day-care facilities. But last November in an op-ed, Kasich called for a bipartisan approach to implement some kind of gun reform.

This week, he said Congress' history of inaction on the issue and the likelihood it will not address it in the wake of the recent high profile mass shooting was just one sign of broad dysfunction, citing the immigration debate as another example. "Think about how bad it is in Congress," Kasich said. "They can't decide anything. They can't agree to anything down there."

Source: Eli Watkins on CNN on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 18, 2018

Background checks and increased attention to mental illness

[In the wake of deadly school shooting this week], Kasich said he thought it was possible to push for some measures at the state and local level, like background checks and increased attention to mental illness, while Washington would not move from the status quo.

"I'm not calling for some outright ban," Kasich said. "I'm talking about small steps that can be taken that can be effective, and the Congress ought to do it. I just don't have any confidence in them. I don't think most Americans do.

Kasich said there were honest disagreements on the issue from people who "feel strongly" and stressed he supports the Second Amendment. Still, he tried to make the case that even ardent supporters of the Second Amendment should be open to some kind of change in policy. "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," Kasich said.

Source: Eli Watkins on CNN on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 18, 2018

Supports state reciprocity and concealed carry

Gov. John R. Kasich continues to be a strong supporter of the right to bear arms and, as governor, has signed every pro-2nd amendment bill that has crossed his desk to defend this basic, constitutional right.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, JohnKasich.com , Dec 27, 2017

Registering mentally ill is first priority in gun control

Q: Bill Bratton, New York City Police Commissioner, says he wants Congress to ban the ability of anybody on a terrorist watch list to buy a firearm, even if they're an American citizen. It's a proposal that's sitting in Congress. The N.R.A.'s not happy with it, where are you on it?

KASICH: I've never heard it until right now. I have a lot of respect for Bill Bratton, but I will also tell you that Americans want to defend themselves. And that what we really need to focus on firearms right now is making sure that states use their databases to upload the people who have mental illnesses. And if we want to examine people who are on terrorist watch lists and not let them buy a gun, it's something that ought to be considered. It's the first I've ever heard of it.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 22, 2015

2nd Amendment advocate: NRA rating changed from "F" to "A"

Q: Let me pick up on another issue that some conservatives have with you. Back in 1994, you voted for the assault weapons ban that Bill Clinton was proposing, which earned you an "F" from NRA. Now, your NRA rating is a straight "A". What would you say to a gun rights advocate who is going to say I'm not sure I like the guy who at one time had an "F" from the NRA?

KASICH: That was an assault weapon ban. I'm a Second Amendment advocate. I don't believe the government should be taking guns from people. I think people have a right to be armed. It's about keeping the Second Amendment and it's allowing legitimate gun owners to be able to do what they want, which is exercise their constitutional right. So people don't need to worry about that.

Q: Do you regret your vote for the assault weapons ban in '94?

KASICH: No, when I look at it now, it was superfluous. We were adding a law that had no impact. And I don't think that's ever smart to do.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 2, 2015

Keep existing restrictions, but tighten up on terrorist guns

Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Cool off before making new gun laws after Littleton

Although he voted for the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons, Kasich said that lawmakers should have a cooling-off period after high-profile acts of violence before trying to pass new laws. Kasich noted that the two students who killed 13 people and themselves last month in Littleton, Colo., violated 19 existing gun laws. “There were already a bunch of laws,” Kasich said. “The kids didn’t pay attention to the laws. I don’t think new laws will solve all the problems.”
Source: Omaha World-Herald, “Kasich Tours Iowa”, 5/23/99 , May 23, 1999

More parenting better than more gun laws

Kasich said that the better response [to the Columbine shootings] may not involve gun control. He said parents could do more to help their children feel safe if they could choose where to send their children to school. He also advocated legislation that would allow businesses to provide more flexible working schedules, a change that he said would give parents more time at home with children. “In most homes, both parents work and nobody has the time to spend with their children anymore,” he said.
Source: Omaha World-Herald, “Kasich Tours Iowa”, 5/23/99 , May 23, 1999

Voted YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1.

Vote to pass a bill requiring anyone who purchases a gun at a gun show to go through an instant background check which must be completed within 24 hours [instead of 72 hours].
Reference: Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 2122 ; vote number 1999-244 on Jun 18, 1999

Opposes restrictions on the right to bear arms.

Kasich opposes the CC survey question on right to bear arms

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Further restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q10 on Aug 11, 2010

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Page last updated: Mar 15, 2019