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Ohio governor reflects on Orlando shooting rampage

By MARC KOVAC Dix Capital Correspondent Published: July 1, 2016 10:00 AM

COLUMBUS -- Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday that increased reflection and planning are in order to address concerns raised by a weekend shooting rampage in Orlando that left dozens of people dead.

"In fact it appears as though we've entered sort of a new age in terms of what we have to guard against," the governor told reporters during an event in suburban Columbus.

Kasich said disturbed individuals bent on such crimes who have come to law enforcement's attention should not be able to get their hands on firearms.

The governor stopped well short of calling for a ban on assault weapons -- "Which one, just the AR-15 [the weapon used in Orlando and other mass shootings]?," he asked. "There's 50,000 others. I've been down this road before."

But, Kasich said, the perpetrator in Orlando had been under surveillance by the FBI and had made threats in the past.

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"I'm not blaming anybody," the governor said. "I'm not criticizing the FBI or criticizing anybody. I just know that this is a reality now that is different than anything that we've faced. Our hearts go out to all the families that have lost somebody."

He added later, "/ If you're being investigated a couple of times by the FBI and you're also threatening your workers, your co-workers, I don't know why you ought to have access to a gun. How we deal with that and how we're not capricious in it is something that needs to be looked at carefully."

Kasich's comments came days after a Florida man, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50 others.

Kasich said he would have to discuss specific potential policy changes with public safety officials. He floated the idea of requiring better exits at places where people gather, providing a means of escape.

"We're obviously going to have to step up our game around this," he said.

The governor mentioned next month's Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the impact of the Orlando incident on that and other events.

"There are people who would like to disrupt that convention," he said. "I would hope nothing along these lines, obviously, but we're just all going to have to be more vigilant."

Kasich declined comment on presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's response to the Orlando shooting.

But he offered, "I'm not into critiquing Donald Trump today. I just think we're now too close to this tragedy. I've never favored a Muslim ban. I don't believe we should have a religious ban, whether it's on Muslims, Hindus, Catholics or anybody else."


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