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Robert Higgs
By Robert Higgs April 25, 2013

Gov. John Kasich shows willingness to expand gun rights

When he challenged then-Gov. Ted Strickland for election in 2010, Republican John Kasich promised he would oppose restrictions on gun rights in Ohio.

The promise wasn"t a leading theme in his campaign, which hammered Strickland on the economy repeatedly. And it was Strickland who won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

Thus, in a live webcast during which the candidate took questions, Kasich said, "I believe in the 2nd Amendment. Everybody has the right to keep and bear arms to either protect your family, protect yourselves, to be a hunter. The 2nd amendment is part of that Constitution. It's something I believe in. And, we're going to stand firm, very firm, for 2nd Amendment rights here in the state of Ohio."

So how has he done living up to that pledge?

What should first be noted is that since Republicans control both houses of the Ohio General Assembly, Kasich is unlikely to face legislation seeking to corral gun rights. But there have been occasions since he took office when the governor has signed legislation that expanded those rights to Ohioans.

In December 2012, Kasich signed a bill that eliminated a requirement that holders of a concealed handgun permit obtain a competency certificate to get their licenses renewed. That legislation also changed the definition of an unloaded weapon so that clips could be kept loaded in a vehicle as long as they were not kept in the same compartment as a gun.

That legislation also permitted guns to be kept in vehicles in the underground parking garage at the Ohio Statehouse. Guns are not permitted in the Statehouse itself.

The governor signed the bill a week after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., grabbed the nation"s attention.


The previous year, Kasich signed a law that allowed permit holders to carry firearms in all of Ohio's Class D licensed liquor establishments, which include bars, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, museums and sports stadiums.

Critics of that law said it will just invite trouble; that a stadium or arena was no place for a gun.
Supporters said the law has merely brought Ohio up to speed with 42 other states that already allow gun owners to carry a hidden firearm in restaurants. Most states, though, do not allow carrying in bars and stadiums. In fact, only a handful of states, Tennessee and Arizona among them, have concealed carry laws as broad as Ohio's  law in terms of where gun owners can pack.

Gun control remains a topic of national debate in the wake of shootings like those in Newtown. And while it is unlikely the governor will see serious gun control legislation emerge from the General Assembly anytime in the future, he does have nearly two years remaining in his term of office.

But since he has demonstrated a willingness to expand gun rights, we can set the Kasich-O-Meter for this pledge to In the Works.

Our Sources


John Kasich 2010, "John Kasich Live Webcast," Aug. 26, 2009

The Plain Dealer via, "Strickland picks up major endorsement from NRA in governor's race,” June 14, 2010

The Plain Dealer via, "Guns in bars bill passes Ohio House, Senate concurs, Gov. John Kasich to sign it,” June 15, 2011

The Plain Dealer via, "Kasich intends to sign gun bill, rejecting call for a veto in wake of Connecticut shootings,” Dec. 17, 2012

The Plain Dealer via, "Kasich set to sign more than 3 dozen bills legislators OK'd in last days of session,” Dec. 19, 2012

Buckeye Firearms Association, "Governor John Kasich signs Am. HB495; Ohio's concealed carry and firearms laws continue to be improved,” Dec. 20, 2012

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