- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 6, 2015

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said Sunday he disagrees with Democrats’ idea of putting all the names on the terrorism watch list onto a “no gun” list because that could make it harder to monitor potential terrorists.

In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Kasich said it is crucial that the intelligence community not “tip somebody off that they’re under review” when gathering information about potential terrorist activities.

Mr. Tapper countered with a scenario in which someone on the terrorism watch list is observed buying a machine gun and ammunition, and whether the authorities should be allowed to simply let him buy those firearms.

“We have to be careful in the way we do this,” said Mr. Kasich. “Everybody wants a slick little answer, a 100 percent answer. We have to figure out what is a common-sense solution.”

In the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, President Obama has called for preventing anyone on a “no fly” or terrorism watch list from buying firearms, saying anyone considered dangerous enough not to be allowed on a plane also should not be allowed to buy a gun.

“And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now,” the president said Saturday. “We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but — at a bare minimum — we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.”

Many Democrats have backed Mr. Obama’s call, which many Republicans have opposed as an infringement on civil liberties.

Mr. Kasich, the governor of Ohio, did agree that if someone is on a no-fly list, “we could probably keep them from getting guns.”

He said a key issue in preventing terrorist acts lies in the intelligence community’s ability to monitor online messages, noting that authorities were unable to read the encrypted messages exchanged among the terrorists involved in last month’s Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.

“If the intelligence community cannot see the communications, then we’re operating in the dark,” Mr. Kasich said.

He urged Congress to move on ensuring that authorities have access to such messages to prevent future tragedies.

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