John Kasich (Getty/Mark Wilson)

Gov. John Kasich pleads on guns: Congress "totally dysfunctional" and Trump must lead

"Do I think they can do anything on guns? I hope they prove me wrong and they can because I have no confidence"


Charlie May
February 18, 2018 4:42PM (UTC)

Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich called Congress "totally dysfunctional" and said that President Donald Trump should act on gun reform in a passionate plea, saying "common sense gun laws make sense."

Ultimately, however, Kasich admitted it's difficult for him to believe that any meaningful progress will actually be made, a rare show of passion on the issue of gun control from a Republican.

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"Do I think they can do anything on guns? I hope they prove me wrong and they can because I have no confidence in them," Kasich told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday. "I'm not calling for some outright ban."

He continued, "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 — I don't have any confidence in them. I don't think most Americans do."

"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.

But he also hit the president on his recent tweet, in which he suggested the FBI has spent too much time investigating his campaign's alleged ties to Russia, and therefore couldn't prevent last week's Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The FBI admitted on Friday that the agency failed to act on a tip that would have prevented the shooting that left 17 killed. So far, it's the students who survived the tragedy, who have led the calls for action, and have planned a mass demonstration in the nation's capital next month.

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"I think it's an absurd statement," Kasich said of the tweet. "The fact of the matter is the FBI apparently made a terrible mistake, and people should be held accountable."

He added, "But we need leadership out of the executive. This is a great opportunity for common sense steps that can be taken, just in the area of background checks."

"There should be no ability to do a casual sale without somebody having to find out who they're selling the gun to and what is involved — the president should be for that," Kasich said. "Of course the president could lead on it, and should lead on it and Mr. President I ask you to do this."

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"Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn’t buy a God-darned AR-15?" a passionate Kasich asked.

As for himself, Kasich has changed positions on gun control over time, but has certainly helped pass his fair share of pro-gun legislation.

"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. John Kasich is a gun-owner himself, and in his 2014 reelection was endorsed by the National Rifle Association for his support of the Second Amendment as an inviolate part of our Constitution," his website reads.

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In the aftermath of recent mass shootings, however, Kasich has called for action, his position on guns has appeared to budge and he called on other pro-second amendment Americans and lawmakers to find common ground on the issue.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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