Ohio Gov. John Kasich acknowledged in an interview with VICE News that the gun reforms he announced this week fall short, but that they’re the “best I can do” in the face of political headwinds in his state.
“I’m not a miracle man. I’m just a guy trying to do the best I can to maneuver in what was a difficult environment,” Kasich said.
The Ohio Republican, who will close out his second and final term as governor this year, on Thursday unveiled six gun reform proposals crafted by a bipartisan working group he convened last year on the issue. The proposals largely bring Ohio law in step with federal law, with two additions: closing holes in the background check system, and creating a new kind of protective order to take guns away from potentially violent people.
They come just two weeks after Kasich lambasted President Trump for showing a lack of leadership on guns in an interview on CNN, where he expressed support for universal background checks and a ban on bump stocks.
“We need leadership out of the executive. This is a great opportunity for commonsense steps that can be taken just in the area of background checks,” he said.
Speaking to VICE News this week, Kasich defended his own proposals, saying they’re what’s achievable in the Ohio legislature.
“Are there other things that I would like to see in this? Of course there are. But this is the best that I can do to be in a position where I can be optimistic about some changes,” he said.
Kasich pointed to the political power of staunch gun-rights advocates as the main obstacle in getting broader reforms passed.
“What happens here is there are people who believe that [Second Amendment] rights should not be violated in any way. And they will go to legislators. And they will do everything they can to stop it and/or to defeat them.”
As the last man standing in the 2016 GOP presidential primary — who refused to endorse Trump even after dropping out of the race — Kasich has continued to criticize Trump well into his presidency, fueling buzz that he’ll try for another presidential bid in 2020. And he notoriously refuses to rule out the prospect when asked — telling VICE News simply “there’s no opening” in 2020, presuming the president runs for reelection.
“So that’s kinda hard.”
If there were an opening — if Trump were, for some reason, not to run for reelection? “I don’t know what can happen in the future,” Kasich said. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do when I’m done.”
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