In the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, some advocates of stricter gun control have urged John Kasich to veto yet another bill, pushed by the National Rifle Association and others, that weakens Ohio’s gun laws. The bill passed in the lame-duck session last week, the day before the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The governor, who describes himself as a “Second Amendment supporter,” has said he will sign the legislation. The measure would allow guns to be stored in vehicles parked in Capitol Square parking garages, end training requirements for those renewing a concealed carry permit and change the definition of an unloaded weapon to allow non-permit holders to store separately a loaded magazine in a vehicle.
As with many other efforts to expand the rights of gun owners, most focused on those with concealed carry permits, this latest bill is misguided, and the governor should veto it. Yet against the backdrop of the killings in Connecticut, the matter pales. The key issues raised by the Newtown tragedy involve other, more serious priorities, such as access to military-style assault weapons and oversized magazines and how to improve background checks, screening, especially, for mental illness.
Those seeking a concealed carry permit in Ohio must pass a training course and clear checks for mental competency and a criminal background. They must be fingerprinted. After going through all that, and paying a fee, they are not likely to pose a risk for mass mayhem.
As debate unfolds in the coming weeks and months, the participants would do well to focus on the greater threats of revisiting the bloodshed, death and anguish in Newtown.