COLUMBUS - Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, said Sunday he wants a way to limit the "God-darn AR-15" assault weapon. Two days later, Democratic state lawmakers offered him one.
Sen. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood, and Sen. Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus, proposed a ban on "assault weapons," including the type of gun a Florida shooter used to kill 17 students and teachers. Language in the bill could effectively ban all semi-automatic weapons.
Certain semi-automatic weapons were banned in the United States between 1994 and 2004. In fact, Kasich voted for that ban while in Congress.
On Sunday, Kasich told CNN's Dana Bash he had asked a friend and gun collector whether he would lose anything important if the man could not purchase an AR-15.
"Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn't buy a God-darn AR-15?" Kasich asked. "These are the things that have to be looked at. And action has to happen before -- and, look, you're never going to fix all of this, but commonsense gun laws make sense."
Kasich, who has signed multiple bills to expand gun access in Ohio, recently replaced pro-Second Amendment language on his website with a call for a commonsense approach to guns.
In their bill, the Democrats defined "assault weapons" as any automatic firearm or semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting 10 or more cartridges. Any semi-automatic weapon can be fitted with a high-capacity magazine that holds more than 10 cartridges. Many newer semi-automatic pistols come from the factory with 12 to 17 round magazines.
Democrats' proposal would make possessing such a gun a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine.
The bill would also require all Ohio gun sellers to report firearm and ammunition sales to the state attorney general's office.
“The recent, sorrowful events in Florida and Nevada and so many more places teach us why it is important to ban weapons that are meant for waging war,” Skindell said in a statement.
Any plan would require support from Republicans who control the Ohio House and Senate. Pro-Second Amendment groupsthat back Republicans oppose the proposal.
"It is an insane idea. It just doesn’t work and our kids deserve a solution that does work," said Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association. He suggested lawmakers improve mental health treatment and arm teachers instead.
Asked about the Democrats' proposal, a Kasich spokesman said the governor is talking with people on both sides of the issue, looking for commonsense solutions.
On the campaign trail, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, a former U.S. representative, called for such a ban. Other candidates for governor, including former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leader Rich Cordray and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, do not support a ban.
"Studies from #GunReform groups like @Everytown tell us bans aren't very effective," Schiavoni wrote on Twitter. "Sellers tell us bans would greatly increase demand & illegal sales."