Gov. John Kasich unveils six 'common ground' gun proposals

Posted at 8:13 AM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-02 04:55:06-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gov. John Kasich unveiled proposed policies intended "to help protect Ohioans from gun violence" on Thursday afternoon.

Kasich said he assembled a group of advisors with diverse opinions on the Second Amendment and gun control to reach "common ground" on six proposals to send to the state legislature. The aim was to bring greater safety to Ohio without "frightening" gun proponents, he said.

"In order to get something done, you're going to have to have a consensus," Kasich said.

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The six proposals include:

  • New legal protections to keep firearms from potentially dangerous people. This would allow certain people defined by law to petition a court to make someone temporarily relinquish firearms if they're a threat to themselves or others.
  • Keep firearms from domestic violence offenders and those with an order of protection filed against them.
  • Close gaps in the background check system by keeping the national database up to date and accurate. 
  • Mirror federal law to prohibit straw purchases for third parties.
  • Prohibit the sale of armor-piercing ammunition. 
  • Enact prohibition against bump stocks and other accessories to mirror federal law and prohibitions.

Kasich indicated he would personally like to see greater gun control, but said it was important to reach a consensus in order to make any change.

"If we put out a document that's dead on arrival, it doesn't achieve anything," he said.

The governor also said he was hopeful state lawmakers would act on the proposals. 

"I'm optimistic that they will enact this," he said. "I see no reason why they shouldn't."

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running to replace term-limited Kasich in this year's election, released a statement Thursday saying she was "deeply concerned that the first instinct of a Republican administration is to roll back the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Ohioans in response to a tragedy." 

Taylor called for legislation "directed at securing our schools, churches and anywhere else where people gather against the threat of a madman with a weapon."

Kasich's announcement came about two weeks after a school shooter killed 17 and injured dozens in Parkland, Florida. After that incident, Kasich told CNN he had "no confidence" Congress would take action on enacting "common sense gun laws."

Since that shooting, some of the survivors have begun calling for tougher gun laws. Kasich called them "remarkable" Thursday.

"We're seeing a new era of activism, a new era of citizenship," he said. 

Kasich, who as a Republican governor has been a notable critic of President Donald Trump, even had some praise for the president. 

Trump "has show some real leadership on getting this issue front and center," Kasich said. 

Since the Florida shooting, the president has irked the NRA by talking about potentially raising the age limit to buy firearms from 18 to 21. Thursday, Trump said he would ban bump stocks with an executive order. 

In Cincinnati, the grandmother of one of the Parkland victims was also calling for increased gun control.

Ethel Guttenberg is the grandmother of 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg. She described her granddaughter as a pretty amazing child.

"I can picture her that morning, getting up, getting ready for school, dancing out of her house as she would normally do," Ethel Guttenberg said.

But Jamie Guttenberg was one of the students killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

"This monster got into the school with a weapon that should only be available to the military, a weapon that can do major damage," the grandmother said.

The weapon used by the 19-year-old accused shooter was an AR-15 semi-automatic style rifle, which looks like a military rifle. 

Guttenberg said her granddaughter was shot in the back and killed while trying to escape the gunfire. 

"The whole in the heart is very deep," she said. "It's difficult."

Now Guttenberg's goal is to stop any future families from feeling the same kind of pain. She said that starts with increased gun control.

The calls for new gun control received mixed reaction from Ohio lawmakers. A campaign spokesperson for Rep. Steve Chabot said the congressman "recognizes the importance of making our schools safer and more secure. That's why he's been working with Cincinnati FOP President Dan Hils and is introducing legislation to provide funding to hire highly trained retired police officers to provide security in our schools."

State Sen. Kenny Yuko said in a written statement that he appreciates the efforts by Kasich and his advisors. 

"People thought we wouldn’t be able to work together to pass congressional redistricting reform, but we did. I have been talking to President Obhof, and I am hopeful that we can take the same bipartisan approach to these critical issues at a time when Americans are pleading with lawmakers to take action," Yuko said. "Senator Cecil Thomas, a former Cincinnati police officer who has seen first-hand the devastation of gun violence, will be leading our caucus’ efforts to reach out to Republicans and find solutions."