Kasich softens 2nd Amendment portion of campaign website

Changes came after Parkland shooting

By MAEGAN VAZQUEZ, CNN
CNN video

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A portion of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign website dedicated to the Second Amendment was altered this weekend, days after a deadly Florida high school shooting.

Caches of the former GOP presidential candidate's page show that the page was altered sometime between Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18, the day the Republican governor criticized President Donald Trump and Congress on CNN over their inaction on gun violence.

The February 17 version of the campaign page, entitled "Defending the Second Amendment," includes images of Kasich at what appears to be an ammunition store and touts an endorsement by the National Rifle Association in his 2014 re-election campaign. The campaign suggests "removing burdensome restrictions for law-abiding concealed carry licenses" and highlights "opposing Barack Obama's gun control efforts."

But a current version of the page, renamed "Common sense on the Second Amendment," does not include images with gun owners or advocates. The page states that Kasich "recognizes the need for common-sense solutions to our nation's problems."

"In recent years, our country has been devastated by a dramatic increase in school shootings and mass killings -- many with the use of semi-automatic weapons," the issue page says. "Governor Kasich believes that we should not be afraid to learn from these tragedies and take appropriate action."

The page goes on to say Kasich has "spoken out" about gun reforms before, expressing support for "expanding background checks on gun sales and limiting the ability to sell weapons that have often been used in mass killings."

During his interview on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Kasich said he thought it was possible to push for some measures at the state and local level, like background checks and increased attention to mental illness, while Washington would not move from the status quo.

"I'm not calling for some outright ban," Kasich said. "I'm talking about small steps that can be taken that can be effective, and the Congress ought to do it. I just don't -- I don't have any confidence in them. I don't think most Americans do."

Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler first noticed the website change, tweeting screenshots of the old version of the page on Sunday.

"Screenshots I took this morning, after @JohnKasich's CNN comments saying gun law changes need to happen at the state/local level, but before the 2nd Amendment page was removed from his website. I've asked why it's gone. Changes of heart do happen, but when and why are important," Kasler said.

CNN has reached out to Kasich's representatives for comment.

John Weaver, the former chief strategist for Kasich's 2016 campaign and a CNN contributor, said in a tweet that the governor's views "have evolved with the dramatic increase in school shootings & mass killings."

"We want our leaders to be unafraid to observe, listen & learn. We urge the 'president' to follow suit," Weaver continued.

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