- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2018

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order Monday to increase local record-sharing with the national gun-purchase background check system, wading further into the national post-Parkland firearms debate.

Mr. Kasich, a Republican, also said that while he doesn’t advocate the idea of a “single issue” voter, people at the ballot box should absolutely weigh politicians’ views and actions on gun control during the 2018 midterm season.

The order directs a state working group that found gaps in the system in 2015 to reconvene and update its report to find out where things stand in terms of timely and complete reporting of the data.

“There’s just no excuse for this data not being sent,” Mr. Kasich said at a signing ceremony in Columbus flanked by local officials and law enforcement personnel. “We’ve got cases where if they don’t have the data, they’re not in a position to be able to determine who should get a gun and who should not.”

The working group is supposed to report back to Mr. Kasich with recommendations by Aug. 1.

The order also authorizes the state’s Office of Criminal Justice Services to ask local courts and officials to provide information about how they’re doing on sending in the data. The state auditor is also supposed to check on how localities are doing in terms of timely and accurate reporting.

Local courts are supposed to update the state within a week about criminal convictions that would disqualify someone from getting a gun, but there’s currently no real penalty if courts don’t comply.

The state shares its records with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

“I believe that they will comply,” Mr. Kasich said. “If they do not comply, then we’re going to figure out what we can do to be more punitive. I’d rather start off with encouragement … we’ll see how it goes.”

Mr. Kasich is also pushing the state legislature to adopt a handful of gun-related policy items unveiled shortly after the Feb. 14 shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

The proposals include creating new “red flag” orders to prevent potentially dangerous people from getting guns and cracking down on “straw purchases” of guns on behalf of people who can’t legally buy them.

Mr. Kasich said voters shouldn’t automatically reject a candidate who opposes something like a “red flag” law.

“I feel very strongly about that, but I’ve never kind of liked the idea of a single issue voter, to tell you the truth,” he said. “Anybody that doesn’t want to support common-sense gun laws ought to be thought of when it comes to the ballot box, of course.”

Mr. Kasich invoked Sunday’s shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville in which four people were killed, as well as several other recent high-profile incidents, as an example of what can happen when the “wrong” people get access to firearms.

Suspect Travis Reinking, 29, reportedly had his guns taken away multiple times, including after an arrest in July 2017 for trespassing near the White House.

Investigators think Mr. Reinking’s father eventually gave the guns back, including an AR-15-style rifle reportedly used in the shooting.

“I have no idea why anybody would say that somebody who’s unstable, who poses a threat to themselves or to others, should have a firearm,” Mr. Kasich said Monday.

The governor pointed out that his recommendations don’t include measures like expanding background checks to cover more private gun sales and banning “assault-style” weapons — both items he has indicated recently he could support.

“Nobody here wants to take anybody’s guns away and somehow violate the Second Amendment,” said Mr. Kasich, who ran for president in 2016 and hasn’t ruled out a 2020 challenge to President Trump.

As a congressman, Mr. Kasich voted for a 1994 ban on so-called assault weapons, earning him an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association. The NRA endorsed Democrat Ted Strickland over Mr. Kasich in the 2010 Ohio governor’s race.

But as a governor, Mr. Kasich has supported pro-gun legislation and was endorsed by the NRA in his 2014 re-election bid.

After the Valentine’s Day shooting in Florida, Mr. Kasich altered his campaign website to downplay those pro-gun bona fides. The site now says he supports the Second Amendment but that he recognizes the need for “common-sense” solutions.


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