Kasich for Governor campaign compiles record of former Congressman's gun-related votes

By Chad D. Baus

Say the name of the presumptive 2010 Republican nominee for Ohio governor - John Kasich - in a crowd of gun owners, and reactions are likely to vary widely.

Many will simply respond with blank stares. That shouldn't be surprising, given that a recent poll recorded 69 percent saying they don't know enough about him to have an opinion.

Others will respond with skepticism, mistrust, or even anger. Those folks will be the ones who remember Congressman Kasich's 1994 vote for the Clinton Gun Ban, which outlawed many semi-automatic rifles simply for having certain "scary-looking" cosmetic features in the name of fighting crime.

It is BOTH of these groups of gun owners - all members of one of the most consistent voting blocs in American politics - that the Kasich campaign needs to work toward educating if they hope to win their support in November.

With such high numbers of voters saying they are unfamiliar with Kasich, there is no doubt that one strategy that will be employed in the campaign to re-elect Governor Ted Strickland will be to define the Republican candidate before he can define himself. I have no doubt that one of the ways they will seek to paint Kasich is being weak on guns.

Strickland was also a congressman in 1994, and while Kasich was busy rallying a group of Republicans to buck their party and support a gun ban, Strickland was busy bucking his own Democratic party (and president) to vote against it. Strickland knows Ohio gun owners are still stinging from having to fight Republicans like Bob Taft and Mike DeWine to win some of their gun rights back, and to protect them from further degradation. Expect Strickland to frequently remind people about these things in the coming months, as he seeks to reinforce mistrust for Kasich among pro-gun voters who remember the '94 vote, and to build doubt in the minds of the many people who have yet to form an opinion about the Republican nominee.

That being said, however, and while Strickland has served gun owners extremely well during his first term in office, he is not without his vulnerabilities on the gun issue. As a pro-gun Democrat, Strickland has always been forced to walk what some view as a hypocritical path on guns. Strickland's party affiliation gives him many an anti-gun bedfellow, a relationship that was exemplified in his fateful decision to go goose hunting with failed Presidential candidate John ("Can I get me a huntin' license here?") Kerry in 2004, and in his more recent assurances that gun owners had nothing to fear under an Obama presidency.

There are also examples of this closer to home. After Strickand's lieutenant governor, Lee Fisher (a former Handgun Control Inc. board member), decided to run for U.S. Senate, the 69 year-old Strickland chose yet another anti-gun individual to be his 2010 running mate. Strickland also dropped his support of State Rep. Jennifer Garrison's bid to become the Democrats' nominee for Secretary of State after his party faithful expressed concerns about her pro-gun beliefs. The Governor is now supporting the vehemently anti-gun Maryellen O'Shaughnessy.

These circumstances provide the Kasich campaign an opportunity. If Kasich can succeed in reassuring pro-gun voters that he has learned his lesson regarding gun control (he has publicly stated several times over the past decade that he now understands that "guns are not the problem – it's the bad people who abuse guns"), he stands a chance not only of reassuring many gun voters that he can be trusted, but perhaps even in shifting a bit of the mistrust onto his opponent.

Frequent readers of BuckeyeFirearms.org will be familiar with Kasich's initial attempts at reaching out to pro-gun voters, including a visit to the Ohio Trapshooting Association's State Shoot and a public statement on the Second Amendment last June, as well as his fielding of questions about gun rights at the Cincinnati-area Voice of America TEA Party last September and at a recent live town hall meeting broadcast to house parties in all 88 Ohio counties. Kasich also recently named current State Auditor Mary Taylor as his running mate. Taylor has been endorsed by the Buckeye Firearms Association many times in the past.

In addition, the Kasich campaign recently provided a list of the former Congressman's pro-gun votes, quotes, and historical NRA ratings, which are provided below.

It is very early in the 2010 campaign season, and there are many other things Kasich can and should do to further assuage the concerns of voters wary about his mixed record on guns.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman, and a Member of the Fulton Co. (OH) Republican Central Committee .

Pro-Gun Congressional Votes (post-1994)

Final Passage of H.R. 2122 (106th Congress; 1999-06-18) Final passage of H.R. 2122, now including the weakened gun show background check amendment and the reinstatement of the pawn shop redemption exemption.

Kasich voted YES

Sessions Pawn Shop Redemption Exemption Amendment (106th Congress; 1999-06-18) H.R. 2122, "Mandatory Gun Show Background Check Act" This amendment, sponsored by Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), attempted to reinstate the exemption for pawn shop redemptions that had existed from the passage of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act of 1994 until December 1, 1998, when the National Instant Ciminal Background Check System (NICS) became operational. During that time period, anyone who pawned a gun at a pawn shop for cash and then returned to reclaim the weapon, did not have to undergo a background check.

Kasich voted YES

McCarthy/Blagojevich/Roukema Gun Show Background Check Amendment (106th Congress; 1999-06-18) H.R. 2122, "Mandatory Gun Show Background Check Act." Immediately following the passage of the Dingell amendment, this amendment was offered by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) and Marge Roukema (R-NJ). It required that all gun show purchasers undergo background checks. The amendment closely mirrored the Senate-passed Lautenberg/Kerrey amendment.

Kasich voted NO

Dingell/NRA-backed Gun Show Background Check Amendment (106th Congress; 1999-06-18) "Mandatory Gun Show Background Check Act." Representative John Dingell (D-MI), a former NRA board member, agreed to sponsor the NRA-backed amendment that would have weakened existing law by reducing the amount of time for law enforcement to conduct background checks on gun sales.

Kasich voted YES

Cunningham Amendment (106th Congress; 1999-06-18) Amendment exempts qualified law enforcement officers and retired officers from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms.

Kasich voted YES

Barr Amendment (104th Congress; 1996-03-13) While many harmful problems would still remain in the bill (HR 2703), the amendment introduced by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) did remove provisions that would have jeopardized the gun industry. The amendment stripped the bill of provisions that would have terrorized gun owners by severely punishing individuals (as well as gun dealers and manufacturers) for selling a gun to someone they should have known was going to use, or threaten to use, the firearm in a "crime of violence."

Kasich voted YES

Pro-Gun Congressional Votes (pre-1994)

Gekas Amendment (103rd Congress; 1993-11-10) Amendment to the Brady Bill (H.R. 1025) sponsored by Representative George Gekas (R-PA) that required the national waiting period to sunset after five years, whether or not the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was operational.

Kasich voted YES

McCollum Amendment (103rd Congress; 1993-11-10) Amendment to the Brady Bill (H.R. 1025) sponsored by Representative Bill McCollum (R-FL) that would have preempted all state and local gun laws when the national instant check system went into effect.

Kasich voted YES

Brady Bill Final Passage (103rd Congress; 1993-11-10) Final Passage of the Brady Bill (H.R. 1025) as amended.

Kasich voted NO

Volkmer/Sensenbrenner Amendment (102nd Congress; 1991-10-17) The Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1991 (H.R. 3371) contained a provision banning the manufacture of 22 semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (over 7 rounds). The Volkmer/Sensenbrenner Amendment deleted that language from the bill.

Kasich voted YES

Staggers Substitute (102nd Congress; 1991-05-08) National Rifle Association-backed bill (H.R. 1412) offered as a substitute for the Brady Bill. It would have given the Department of Justice only six months to establish a toll-free "hotline" that gun dealers would call to obtain a background check on prospective handgun purchasers.

Kasich voted YES

Brady Bill (102nd Congress; 1991-05-08) The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1991 (H.R. 7) establishing a national seven-day waiting period before the purchase of a handgun so that law enforcement had time to conduct a criminal background check.

Kasich voted NO

Unsoeld Amendment (101st Congress; 1990-10-04) National Rifle Association-backed amendment to Crime Control Act of 1990 (H.R. 5269) that would permit the continued manufacture of semi-automatic weapons made with domestic parts.

Kasich voted YES



John Kasich on Gun Control : May 23, 1999
More parenting better than more gun laws

Kasich said that the better response [to the Columbine shootings] may not involve gun control. He said parents could do more to help their children feel safe if they could choose where to send their children to school. He also advocated legislation that would allow businesses to provide more flexible working schedules, a change that he said would give parents more time at home with children. "In most homes, both parents work and nobody has the time to spend with their children anymore," he said.

John Kasich on Gun Control : May 23, 1999
Cool off before making new gun laws after Littleton

Although he voted for the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons, Kasich said that lawmakers should have a cooling-off period after high-profile acts of violence before trying to pass new laws. Kasich noted that the two students who killed 13 people and themselves last month in Littleton, Colo., violated 19 existing gun laws. "There were already a bunch of laws," Kasich said. "The kids didn't pay attention to the laws. I don't think new laws will solve all the problems."

John Kasich on Crime : May 2, 1999
Columbine: Community involvement, not new laws

[Regarding the Columbine High shootings, Kasich said that] passing laws in Congress to address schoolhouse violence wasn't the way to respond to the event. "I prefer to leave it to the families and communities," he said. "The easiest thing to do is pass a series of laws and say, okay, that fixed it. The harder responsibility is yours and mine," he continued. "It's whether you become a Little League coach or spend more time with the neighbor's kids, that's what fixes it."

John Kasich as a Guest Host on the O’Reilly Factor, December 28, 2005

NAIDOO: This issue of illegal guns coming across the border (to Canada from the U.S.). And nothing has been done. And we don't expect anything to be done.


NAIDOO: .as long as there's a strong gun lobby at the NRA in the U.S. controlling this.

KASICH: OK, but Naidoo, look, I mean, I actually voted to limit some guns. I voted to ban the assault weapons. You know what I've concluded after that? Banning all these guns and passing all these laws isn't going to fix it.

In fact, there's a guy up in Canada who wrote an article saying do you think that these guys are going to abide by a bunch of Mickey Mouse laws? What they're saying is Canada has a serious gang problem. You got problems in your inner city.

NAIDOO: There you go.

KASICH: Sort of like what's going in France. So no, don't blame the gun. Blame the problem. You guys are not addressing the gang problem in your country.


House passes bill getting tough on guns;
Measure urges mandatory terms for related crimes

April 12, 2000, Wednesday, Final Edition

The House yesterday voted overwhelmingly to create a nationwide crackdown on gun crimes, modeled on "Project Exile," created by state and federal officials in Richmond.

"The real heartache, in my judgment, involving so much gun violence is that it involves avoidable tragedies," said Rep. Bill McCollum, Florida Republican and lead sponsor of the bill. "Avoidable in the sense that many gun criminals are back out on the street before they should be and they are then committing additional violent crimes."

The bill, which passed 358-60, creates a $100 million project to expand Project Exile nationally. It offers grants to states that impose a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for using a gun to commit a crime or for felons caught carrying guns...

...An NRA official said yesterday's vote "perfectly exemplifies" the debate over guns.

"While Bill Clinton was performing in the theater of press conference politics, the House was passing legislation to take a proven, tough law enforcement program nationwide," said James Jay Baker, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. He said the House vote "highlights the difference between political theater and proven, effective public policy."...

...The Project Exile bill is the Republican answer to a push by the White House for stronger restrictions on gun sales in the wake of recent school shootings. They argue that the federal government has many gun laws already, but the Department of Justice has failed to prosecute tens of thousands of felons who have tried to buy weapons but were turned back by the instant background-check system....


By a vote of 358-60, the House yesterday approved a bill providing $100 million in grants over five years to states that impose mandatory minimum sentences for gun-related crimes.

Republicans - Boehner, Y; Chabot, Y; Gillmor, Y; Hobson, Y; Kasich, Y; LaTourette, Y; Ney, Y; Oxley, Y; Portman, Y; Pryce, Y; Regula, Y.

Democrats - Brown, Y; Hall, Y; Jones, N; Kaptur, Y; Kucinich, Y; Sawyer, Y; Strickland, Y; Traficant, Y.

NRA- ratings:

-1982-A – NRA PAC contributed to campaign

-1984-A+ - endorsed


-1988-no grades given - NRA PAC contributed to campaign

-1990-no grades given - NRA PAC contributed to campaign

-1992-B-endorsed - NRA PAC contributed to campaign

-1994-F - NRA PAC contributed to campaign


-1998-B+ endorsed – NRA PAC contributed to campaign

[UPDATE August 6, 2010]

The Rest of the Story:
Strickland campaign seeks to educate voters on Kasich's anti-gun record

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