John Kasich's Veto of Pro-Gun Bill Fails Miserably


Remember John Kasich? I won’t fault you if you don’t. He was that presidential candidate who kind of looks like the preternaturally disapproving father/mayor in every ’80s teen flick which took place in a hamlet that had banned rock-and-roll.

For reasons beyond my limited comprehension, this somehow didn’t translate into primary votes. I know, right? Anyhow, even the #NeverTrump Republicans couldn’t get beyond the perpetual grimace plastered on his mien and moved on to Jeff Flake, who actually qualifies as more charismatic, to pin their 2020 hopes on. Now, the former Ohio governor has apparently been keeping busy doing a whole lot of nothing, since he’s clearly …

Wait, I’m sorry, what? No, can’t be. He’s not still in office. I surely would have heard something about the man, after all. Let me just Google that one real quick, because I’m certain you’re wro– oh, goodness. Well, that’s embarrassing. But as it turns out, he might as well have been unemployed, since my Google search revealed the Kasich, who leaves office this coming January, is about as ineffectual in terms of actual gubernatorial power as Al Gore.

And yes, I know Gore was never a governor. That’s the point.

See, the Ohio legislature, much like its governor, is on the way out the door. Unlike the governor, many of them will be back during the next legislative session — and, as is common with lame-duck politicians who don’t have to worry about the electorate, Kasich decided, on his way out, to give the politicians in the statehouse a certain digital gesture that wasn’t a thumbs-up.

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The gesture in question involved the veto of Ohio House Bill 228, a piece of gun-owners rights legislation which had been passed by the lower chamber last month and the upper chamber earlier this month. The bill was designed to put the burden of proof on prosecutors to bring charges in cases of self-defense among other things, according to The Hill.

The Associated Press also reported other language expanded carrying rights for off-duty law enforcement officers and “allows pre-emption of local gun restrictions.”

When Kasich vetoed it, the legislature promptly overturned the veto.

It’s not like they didn’t try to work with him, either. When the governor made it clear he was going to veto the bill, the Senate removed “stand your ground” language from the bill.

Do you think John Kasich was wrong to veto this legislation?

Kasich, however, still objected to the law on two grounds. First, it still shifted the burden of proof to prosecutors in cases of self-defense. Second, the legislature refused to debate a so-called “red flag” law — a popular piece of legislation these past few months in which states are no longer required to follow basic due process steps like obtaining a warrant to take away someone’s guns if they believe them to be a “threat” to themselves or others.

As for the first part, Kasich said in a statement that the burden of proof being placed on the prosecutor before bringing charges in cases of self-defense “has never been the law in Ohio; the defendant has always had the burden of proving self-defense.

“This provision of the bill is strongly opposed by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.”

Well, yes, it may have never “been the law in Ohio.” That’s why they were passing a law. This is kind of how this whole thing works, a process which I’m somewhat surprised Kasich hasn’t become acquainted with given that he’s being term-limited out of office and has been dealing with this whole song-and-dance for the better part of a decade. If he wants to know why the only Pennsylvania Ave. he’ll likely ever be living on won’t be in the District of Columbia, that fact wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

As for the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association being against it, while I have great respect for the unsung work prosecutors do on behalf of the American people, the fact is that one can suspect that their opposition had as much to do with the fact that it made their job harder as it did with the fact it made us less safe. The problem is that when it comes to our unalienable rights as American citizens, the role of the government isn’t to make the government’s lives easier, at least not at the expense of our rights.

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As for “red flag” laws, the same point could be made about those — not to mention the amount of time it takes to get a warrant involving someone who legitimately poses a threat is probably shorter than the duration of “Gone with the Wind.”

Except, here’s the thing — that’s not what this bill was about. It was about self-defense laws. Apparently, the bill’s merits weren’t strong enough to get Kasich’s imprimatur if they didn’t do away with — or at least debate doing away with — due process.

So, anyhow, Kasich vetoed it — and, much like 2016 GOP primary voters, it seems like his Republican colleagues in the legislature didn’t care much for Kasich, either.

“The Senate voted 21-11 in favor of striking down Kasich’s veto on the bill, following a House override earlier on Thursday,” The Hill reported.

Not only was Kasich’s veto about as meaningful as Cory Booker’s “Spartacus” moment, it also isn’t going to re-ingratiate himself in the hearts of the anti-Trump right that’s coalesced around outgoing Sen. Flake.

Short of the Max Boot types who have been so alienated by the current commander in chief that they’ve become de facto Democrats in all but name, even those who profoundly loathe president number 45 still have a lot of respect for amendment number two.

In other words, the only thing left for Gov. Kasich is to retire to some little burg in the Ohio countryside and get elected mayor so he can ban rock ‘n roll.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture