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Kasich takes aim at gun reform

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Gov. John Kasich’s evolution on gun issues led him recently to propose a package of gun-safety bills in the General Assembly.

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Gov. John Kasich’s evolution on gun issues led him recently to propose a package of gun-safety bills in the General Assembly. The governor’s proposal to prohibit people with domestic-violence protection orders from buying or possessing guns, prohibit the sale of armor-piercing ammunition, and stop third-party “strawman” sales of guns to people prohibited from having them would have seemed surprising, if not unthinkable, for the National Rifle Association endorsed governor just a month ago.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., however, the climate seems to have shifted. And Mr. Kasich is shifting with it.

EDITORIAL: Where are you, John Kasich? | A governor detached

During his nearly two full terms as governor, Mr. Kasich has signed every bill that has reached his desk to gradually expand who can legally carry concealed handguns and where they can carry them. But the governor is now pressing the General Assembly to enact the package of what he calls “common sense” reforms to make schools and other public places safer from gun violence.

The governor’s package includes a “red-flag” bill that would enable family members and law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily take guns away from people who have demonstrated they are too unstable to have access to weapons.

The governor also would seek to close loopholes in the enforcement of existing gun laws by cracking down down on local governments that fail to promptly report data into the national background system checked by sellers.

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Mr. Kasich is right. These reforms do make sense. Ohio must do a better job of tracking criminal information, and of closing loopholes on gun sales that skirt the law. Creating temporary gun restraining orders also makes sense, and will help local police and courts keep their communities safer.

However, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Ohio Lt. Gov Mary Taylor says Mr. Kasich ought to focus on efforts to make schools and other potential targets safer from mass shooters.

Ms. Taylor makes a good point. Because while Mr. Kasich has proposed bills that can help prevent some gun violence in the future, he has neglected to offer any solid proposals — or money — to help schools make themselves safer right now.

Solving the gun-violence problem is going to take more than parachuting into Columbus and dropping off a package of bills. The governor is going to have to stick around Ohio and work to get those bills through a skeptical, Republican-dominated General Assembly. And he’s going to have to offer much more to schools and local governments struggling to protect themselves from threats in the meantime.

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