Gov. Strickland believes he is cutting into the Republican base on the gun issue; Kasich disagrees

by Chad D. Baus

The Toledo Blade is reporting that, during a recent interview, Governor Ted Strickland said that he believes he has cut into John Kasich's Republican base due, in part, to the gun issue.

From the story:

The governor hails from a rural Appalachian Ohio area that repeatedly sent him to Washington. He has twice garnered the endorsements of the National Rifle Association and Fraternal Order of Police, groups that more often than not have supported Republicans.

...[Kasich] said he doesn't buy the suggestion that Mr. Strickland has whittled away at his base.

"The numbers don't reveal any of that," Mr. Kasich said. "The problem he's had is all the negative attacks on me have backfired on him. It's driven up his negatives. For instance, the NRA. I'm not an enemy of the NRA. We just have a disagreement on a vote I cast" in favor of an assault weapons ban while in Congress.

"I'd like to have the endorsement, but gun owners know I'm not anti-gun," he said. "I never have been. I was endorsed by the NRA before the vote … They're trying to make somebody into something they're not. That never works in politics."

Those who have been paying close attention to Mr. Kasich's words on this issue for the past year or so have been quick to note that he referred to his disagreement with the NRA in the present tense. Whether or not that was a Freudian slip that reveals his ongoing beliefs, or a media misquote (for example, did he say "we just have a disagreement," or perhaps had?), it is clear that Kasich seeks to perpetuate the notion that he only cast one anti-gun vote during his time in Congress.

For its part, the Strickland campaign is determined to make sure pro-gun voters are informed that Kasich cast far more than "just" that one vote (which resulted in the ban of a large number of semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity handgun magazines.)

To that end, "Sportsmen for Strickland" is distributing a flyer entitled "Kasich's Dirty Dozen." This document lists what the Strickland campaign calls the "Top 12 Assaults on gun owners and sportsmen by Congressman Kasich."

The flyer notes that, in 1999, Kasich voted twice to ban private transfers of firearms at gun shows - legislation that industry experts say would effectively end the shows altogether.

The "Dirty Dozen" flyer reveals that Kasich also voted against an attempt to repeal the D.C. Gun Ban in 1999. The ban remained in effect for another nine years, until the United States Supreme Court finally restored residents' Second Amendment rights in the Heller case.

The flyer also mentions two anti-hunting votes, a vote against an amendment designed to prohibit the use of evidence obtained by the ATF unless it was obtained under a search warrant, and a 1986 vote to restrict handguns.

And finally, the "Dirty Dozen" flyer notes that Kasich not only voted for the Clinton Gun Ban in 1994, but that in fact that the unpopular and now-defunct gun ban could not have passed without Kasich's support (the bill passed 216-214). Two years later, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House and attempted to repeal the ban, Kasich voted to keep the ban in place.

As we have indicated on this website previously, our own research indicates that Kasich has, at best, a 50-50 voting record on gun rights. So while in recent years, Kasich has indicated several times that he has changed his mind on the issue of gun rights (and Ohio gun owners certainly hope that he has), it is knowledge of his weak voting record, combined with his continued efforts to avoid acknowledging same, that continues to prompt many gun owners to wish for further proof to back his claims of a change of heart.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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