It’s curious, maybe ironically so, that Second Amendment backer Ohio Gov. John Kasich is quite ready to do in New Hampshire what he doesn’t want to do in Columbus, stand in front of state lawmakers totting guns. But that’s exactly what he’ll do on January 20th when he addresses the 400-member House, some of whom could be packing Deadly Force.
Republican New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper extended an invitation to all major presidential candidates to speak to lawmakers ahead of the primary on Feb. 9, The Concord Monitor reported.
Whether Gov. Kasich can be considered a major presidential candidate, given his stupendously low national polling or mediocre ranking in the Granite State is worthy fodder for debate. So far, only three presidential candidates have earned Secret Service protection, and Ohio’s lagging, second-tier governor isn’t one of them.
At issue is the discrepancy between New Hampshire law that allows lawmakers to carry concealed firearms and the Secret Service’s policy that prohibits them. Speaker Jasper’s office has preemptively told the federal agency that if those candidates do visit, the House doesn’t plan to suspend its rule allowing members to carry concealed guns on the floor.
“They can come here or not based on the knowledge of what our House rules are,” Jasper said. “We thought it best to reach out to the Secret Service and let them know what our rules are, and give them the opportunity to figure out how they proceed.”
Candidates with Secret Service protection so far—Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republicans Ben Carson and Donald Trump—have not indicated they’ll be at the state capital. Candidates who have accepted the invitation, but who don’t have Secret Service protection include former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and Ohio’s term-limited leader John Kasich.
What’s curious about this is that Gov. Kasich, long ago, wants to keep people carrying guns out of the Ohio Statehouse in general and the House and Senate chambers in particular
“I believe in the 2nd Amendment. Everybody has the right to keep and bear arms to either protect your family, protect yourselves, to be a hunter. The 2nd amendment is part of that Constitution. It’s something I believe in. And, we’re going to stand firm, very firm, for 2nd Amendment rights here in the state of Ohio,” Mr. Kasich said.
Three years ago in December, mid-term of his first term, Gov. Kasich signed a bill that eliminated a requirement that holders of a concealed handgun permit obtain a competency certificate to get their licenses renewed. Among other provisions, that legislation stipulated that guns are not permitted in the Statehouse itself.
Gov. Kasich has allowed guns in the Statehouse parking garage, but New Hampshire, where he needs to finish no lower than third to avoid crashing and burning on his second try at running for president, has gone much further. Carrying concealed firearms is now okay in the House chamber, gallery and cloakrooms, ever since the Republican-controlled body revived the controversial policy at the start of its 2015 legislative session, The Concord Monitor reported.
Unlike Ohio, carrying a concealed weapon in other parts of the New Hampshire State House and Legislative Office Building is permitted. The buildings, reports say, have no metal detectors and security guards who patrol the premises are not armed. State police officers, however, do carry weapons.
Once he became governor, Mr. Kasich abandoned the Ohio Statehouse as his venue of choice for his State of the State speeches, a long-standing tradition he dumped after his awkward, non-theatrical speech inside the Ohio House. Maybe it will turn into another one of his off-road, staged-for-TV speeches, complete with a giant Ohio flag backdrop, but that’s highly unlikely to happen for the 15-minutes he’s scheduled to appear before Granite State lawmakers.
Gov. Kasich says he’s “surging” in New Hampshire, but that seems something only he and his campaign staff see. If he were surging as he says he is, he might join Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ben Carson who do qualify for Secret Service protection. So far, though, the governor’s protection is coming from Ohio Highway Patrolmen who are at his side even though he’s spent considerable time outside Ohio on the campaign trail in various early primary states. Camp Kasich refuses to provide information on the cost to taxpayers for the governor’s second foray into presidential politics, and media knows not to ask anymore because the topic is off limits.
If it’s good enough and safe enough for New Hampshire legislators to carry firearms into their statehouse, why isn’t it alright for Ohio to permit Buckeye lawmakers to tote guns in Columbus?
Obama Promises New Federal Action On Guns
In separate but related news, President Barack Obama says he’s ready to finish his last year with a flourish. One of those flourishes will come as he takes executive action to curb gun violence however he can. Reports say the president is expected to announce executive actions imposing new gun regulations early on in the new year after he meets with Attorney General Lorreta Lynch to identify what actions to take.
“One of the most likely changes is a rule that would require dealers who exceed a certain number of gun sales each year to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and to perform background checks on buyers,” Washington Times reporter Dave Boyer writes.
Back in 1994, then-congressman John Kasich voted for the assault weapons ban that President Bill Clinton was proposing, which earned Mr. Kasich an “F” from NRA, which has since reversed its grade. “I’m a Second Amendment advocate,” Congressman Kasich said. “I don’t believe the government should be taking guns from people. I think people have a right to be armed. It’s about keeping the Second Amendment and it’s allowing legitimate gun owners to be able to do what they want, which is exercise their constitutional right. So people don’t need to worry about that.”
For Gov. Kasich, enough gun laws exist. “I don’t think new laws will solve all the problems,” he said, throwing a curve ball by bring school choice into the conversation. Parents, he said, “could do more to help their children feel safe if they could choose where to send their children to school.” Gov. Kasich has budgeted billions in Ohio for for-profit charter schools that are routinely mocked by national assessors as some of the worst in the nation.