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Ohio School Shooting Could Have Been Prevented With Better Gun Laws

Prior to his governorship, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was rated with an “F” by the greatest American lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, causing the far-right to become skeptical of his allegiance. Two years and dozens of amendments later, the Kasich administration has opened the floodgates of gun ownership in Ohio, earning him a “B” rating and a nod for the Republican vice presidential bid. But with the recent Chardon High School shooting in Cleveland taking place under his administration, Kasich’s abandoning of principles looks more like blood on his hands than a political game.

Kasich was elected as Ohio’s governor last year after Ohio’s legislature was overhauled by Republicans inspired by the Tea Party movement. During the campaign for office, incumbent and Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland tried to win over a group of Second Amendment advocates by highlighting that Kasich had received an “F” from the NRA.

The NRA endorsed Strickland earlier in the year after failing Kasich for congressional votes banning assault weapons and deer hunting and for increased background checks at gun shows.

Since elected governor, Kasich has signed into law numerous bills allowing guns to be purchased with fewer restrictions. Under his administration, the gun waiting period was shortened from three days to one, handguns were permitted in bars and restaurants, there is no longer a requirement to register or license a firearm, no penalty for guns purchased or sold without a background check, no penalty for someone who has bought a gun for someone who legally cannot, and no law requiring local or state government to have any record of gun ownership.

Ohio law prohibits selling a gun to someone unfit but does not require a background check on the purchaser if the seller is not a licensed dealer — the latter a provision of the federal law that necessarily nullifies the former. This means that handguns bought in Ohio are legally able to be passed from person to person without background check or licensure or record.

This might explain why the average age of suspects involved in gun-related crimes in Ohio is 23, but  the median and mode is 20 years old — under the legal age to own a handgun. Or it might explain why Ohio’s illegal gun indictments have risen in recent years.  And worse, it could explain how Ohio has been consistently in the top seven states as interstate suppliers of illegal guns in recent years, meaning what is happening in Ohio is not staying in Ohio.

Photo Credit: Willie Lunchmeat

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