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Kasich Calls For 'Common Ground' On Guns, But His Record Shows Otherwise

Marc Nozell

In recent Sunday morning TV appearances and in a nationally distributed op-ed, Gov. John Kasich has advocated bringing both sides together to find common ground on guns. But the Republican governor seemingly hasn't talked to Democratic leaders about the issue. 

"As a nation, these tragedies have united us in shock and mourning, yet the first talk of solutions tears us apart," Kasich wrote for Cleveland.com in November, days after a mass shooting in a Texas church. "No one among us is willing to put aside our rock-ribbed, preloaded position on guns in order to sit down and find the common ground for solutions."

Ohio's Republican majority, led by House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, has pushed for expansion of gun owners’ rights. Most recently, Ohio Republicans have passed bills to expand concealed carry and decriminalize violating gun-free zones - which Kasich then signed into law.

Rosenberger says he appreciates the governor’s approach to try to find something to agree on.

“At the same time we have to, from my end of things, make sure that we do continue to uphold the Second Amendment,” he said.

But Democratic minority leader Fred Strahorn, who says he’s a handgun owner, says approaching this with people he calls “gun enthusiasts” is easier said than done.

“I think many of them, rightly or wrongly, interpret any kind of discussion about this as an eventual erosion of some serious Second Amendment right, which isn’t always the case,” he said.

Rosenberger confirmed he’s talked to Kasich about this, but Strahorn said he hasn’t been approached.

Kasich earned an "A-" rating from the National Rifle Association, and was endorsed by their political wing in his 2014 reelection campaign.