Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Monday signed an executive order intended to get localities to submit more records into a database of banned gun buyers, wading further into the national post-Parkland gun debate.
The order asks a state committee that found gaps in the system in 2015 to reconvene and update its report to find out where things stand in terms of timely and complete reporting of the data.
“There’s just no excuse for this data not being sent,” Mr. Kasich, a Republican, said at a signing ceremony flanked by local officials and law enforcement personnel.
“We’ve got cases where if they don’t have the data, they’re not in a position to be able to determine who should get a gun and who should not.”
The order also authorizes the state’s Office of Criminal Justice Services to ask local courts and officials to provide information about how they’re doing on sending the data. The state auditor is also supposed to check on how localities are doing in terms of timely and accurate reporting.
Local courts are supposed to provide updates to the state’s list of banned buyers every week, but there’s currently no real penalty for failing to do so.
“I believe that they will comply,” Mr. Kasich said. “If they do not comply, then we’re going to figure out what we can do to be more punitive. I’d rather start off with encouragement. … We’ll see how it goes.”
Shortly after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, a bipartisan commission set up by Mr. Kasich after last year’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas unveiled a handful of gun-related policy recommendations, which included action to ensure the timely and accurate reporting of records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
The proposals also included preventing convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns, creating new “red flag” orders to take guns from people determined to be a threat to themselves or others, banning the sale of armor-piercing bullets and “bump stock” gun accessories, and cracking down on “straw” purchases of guns on behalf of people who can’t legally buy them.
The state legislature is currently considering the measures.
Mr. Kasich, who hasn’t ruled out a 2020 primary challenge to President Trump, has evolved on gun issues over the years.
As a congressman, Mr. Kasich voted for a 1994 ban on so-called assault weapons, earning him an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association. The NRA endorsed Democrat Ted Strickland over Mr. Kasich in the 2010 Ohio governor’s race.
But as a governor, Mr. Kasich supported pro-gun legislation and was endorsed by the NRA in his 2014 re-election bid.
After the Feb. 14 shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Mr. Kasich altered his campaign website to downplay those pro-gun bona fides, noting that he supports the Second Amendment but that he recognizes the need for “common-sense” solutions.
“Nobody could see what’s happened here within the last six months and not have their eyes [open] to this whole thing,” Mr. Kasich said recently in an interview with WEWS-TV. “We don’t want to be in the business of taking people’s guns, but there are reasonable limits.”
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