20,000 TEA Party attendees hear BFA question John Kasich on gun rights in Ohio

By Joe Eaton

Gun owners across these United States, and in Ohio particularly, have long questioned the one blemish on GOP gubernatorial-hopeful John Kasich's Second amendment record - his 1994 vote in favor of Bill Clinton's "Crime Bill", which outlawed several types of commonly owned firearms.

This weekend's Townhall at the Cincinnati area Voice of America TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party rally was attended by an estimated 20,000, and as a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association, I was able to ask Mr. Kasich exactly where he now stands on gun rights. Here is what we heard.

The first question asked was "Do you regret your vote in FAVOR of the 1994 Clinton Assault Weapons ban and will you publicly apologize for casting that vote AGAINST gun owners?" Mr. Kasich's replied that "[he] was wrong, it [Crime Bill] didn't have any impact."

While this is excellent 20/20 hindsight and the same one line we have heard before, gun owners in Ohio were hoping to learn more. Did Mr. Kasich once believe that a bill restricting the possession of commonly owned firearms by law-abiding citizens could ever have an impact on crime? If these restriction were OK in 1994 does he still believe something similar would fit within the bounds of the Constitution? Being a current gun owner doesn't answer all the questions.

Mr. Kasich's decision to break with party lines and become the deciding vote in 1994 continues to be a hurdle many persons have trouble clearing. However, being able to look at past mistakes and learn from them is an attribute all of us aspire to have. It seems certain that Kasich realizes the thankfully long-gone 'Crime Bill' was such a mistake.

The second part of the question was "Exactly what can concealed carry license holders, hunters, sportsmen and other gun owners in Ohio expect from you as it relates not only to protecting, but continuing the current governor's expansion of our firearm rights?" Mr. Kasich replied that "[he] is as strong as anyone is and will continue to be that way."

We had hoped for specifics on what a Kasich administration would mean to our Second Amendment rights. After almost two decades of Governors Voinovich and Taft, both who purported to be strong supporters of the Second Amendment, gun owners in Ohio were happy to see the current Governor take the initiative on firearm rights and help the legislature pass SB184. This was Ohio's Castle Doctrine bill, which included many other essential changes to Ohio gun laws and was labeled by the NRA as 'one of the most sweeping gun reform bill in the United States in decades.' Buckeye Firearms Association would welcome advances such as this from any future administration.

Ohio gun owners have always looked for someone who sets themselves apart from the crowd when it comes to the protection and expansion of our firearm rights. The safety of our state and our families demand it and we look forward to having two candidates who fit this description come Election Day 2010.

Joe Eaton is the Buckeye Firearms Association Southwest Ohio Region Leader.

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