The Corner

Politics & Policy

John Kasich: Forget That the NRA Endorsed Me in 2014!

Ohio governor John Kasich in 2016 (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters)

There are many reasons why Ohio Governor John Kasich can be insufferable, but a big one is how he transparently reinvents himself depending upon his political needs of the moment. In 2016, Kasich wanted to win the Republican nomination and JohnKasich.com featured a section that boasted that as governor, he had “signed every pro-2nd Amendment bill that has crossed his desk to defend this basic constitutional right.”

The old section was not subtle. It boasted, “John Kasich is a gun-owner himself, and in his 2014 reelection was endorsed by the National Rifle Association for his support of the Second Amendment as an inviolate part of our Constitution. … He enacted protecting Ohio’s concealed carry laws, including protecting the privacy of permit holders and allowing for reciprocity licenses with other states where permit holders can carry their firearms.”

And the old Kasich was fighting gun-control efforts! “The Second Amendment is too important and Obama’s hostility to it is too well known for him to be allowed to go around Congress and undermine the Second Amendment. His efforts to expand the federal government’s interference with Americans’ Right to Keep and Bear Arms are wrong and the governor opposes them.”

This weekend, those sections disappeared; a short while later, they were replaced with “Common Sense on the Second Amendment.”

The boast about the NRA endorsement is gone, as are any details about the legislation he signed. In fact, there’s not a lot of specifics at all in the new section: “John Kasich has spoken out on the need for reasonable reforms to prevent future massacres — including the potential of expanding background checks on gun sales and limiting the ability to sell weapons that have often been used in mass killings. As Governor, he recently challenged a bipartisan working group of gun owners and gun control advocates to find common ground that will protect the 2nd Amendment and save lives.”

One of the great ironies is that Kasich could have plausibly argued in 2016 that he was a more consistent and outspoken defender of the Second Amendment compared to Donald Trump, who had written in a 2000 book, “I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

If you’re planning on challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, this repositioning doesn’t make much sense. But if you want to run as an independent, and want pro-gun control Democrats who, for whatever reason, aren’t satisfied with the eventual Democratic nominee … this shift makes more sense.

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