COLUMBUS — Governor John Kasich has acted as expected to veto a bill broadening access to guns and, in a surprise move, has expanded a years-old anti-discrimination order to include gender identity.
Both moves Wednesday are consistent with the two-term Republican’s recent shift away from his party’s right wing toward policies he characterizes as bipartisan common ground.
Among those are “red flag” laws allowing gun rights to be temporarily stripped from people who show warning signs of violence. Kasich’s veto message said he couldn’t sign a bill without such a provision, calling it “baffling and unconscionable” that Ohio’s GOP-controlled General Assembly was unwilling to even debate the idea.
Kasich also said, “I urge members of the 133rd General Assembly, convening in January 2019, to conduct a prolonged, thoughtful, and transparent review of state laws regarding the sale, possession, and use of firearms in order to send the next governor a bill that is not only consistent with the right to bear arms and the right of all Ohioans to robust due process protections, but that also keeps firearms out of the hands of those individuals who would use them to harm themselves or others.”
His new anti-discrimination order, only effective until Jan. 13, prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity and expression” in state personnel decisions.
Per a press release from the governor’s office, “suspected violations of this Executive Order [revising discrimination policy] will be investigated, and state employees determined to have violated this Executive Order may be subject to discipline up to and possibly including termination.”