Florida school shooting creates ‘a window’ to reform gun laws: GOP governor

The Florida school shooting that killed 17 people has created a “window” for reforming gun laws in the U.S., said a Republican governor.

“Everything kind of has its time,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl in an interview that aired today on “This Week.” “If we can move this thing significantly forward our country will be safer, our children will be safer, but we’ve got a moment now, a window.”

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President Donald Trump responded to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by promoting the idea of putting “gun-adept” teachers and staff carrying concealed firearms in classrooms and schools to protect students.

Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via APStudents are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018.

Kasich, a Republican, said he believes it is “reasonable” to give teachers the option of being armed at school.

“If there are teachers who say, ‘Look I want to take training, I want to be able to be in a strong position,’ if there is a way in which they can volunteer and get into a position of where they can be a protection for kids, I think that’s reasonable,” he said.

Kasich was interviewed along with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, whose state was the site of both the Columbine High School gun massacre nearly 20 years ago that killed 13 and a 2012 shooting inside a movie theater in which 12 died.

Reuters | Getty Images, FILEPictured (L-R) in these file photos are John Kasich in Burlingame, Calif., April 29, 2016 and John Hickenlooper in Aurora, Colo., Oct. 21, 2014.

Hickenlooper said he is open to possibly allowing teachers to carry guns, but doesn’t believe many educators would want to take it on.

“I can count on one hand the number of teachers who said they wanted to be trained and wanted to be able to carry a gun,” Hickenlooper said. “ So I agree with John here that if volunteers want to do this, and this is something they’re willing to go through serious training, and really be responsibly prepared for any situation, you know, that’s something we can look into.”

“But the expectation that you’re going to get 20 percent of teachers to go through that training and want it, it was not my experience,” Hickenlooper added.

The Colorado governor said the overall failure to pass gun control in the U.S. has allowed the places where “we create community” to be threatened.

“We’re at that point where we’re allowing ourselves to be terrorized by ourselves,” Hickenlooper said. “If you wanted to weaken this country, what better way to do it than to make children afraid to go to school. And you look at — it’s not just schools, it’s churches, if you listen to a country-music concert.”

Joe Amon/Denver Post via Getty Images, FILEGovernor John Hickenlooper delivers the Colorado State of the State address at the Colorado State Capitol, Jan. 11, 2018 in Denver, Colo.

Colorado in 2014 enacted legislation requiring universal background checks on gun purchases that has proved successful, the Democratic governor said.

“It was a big political battle,” he said. “But universal background checks, they work.”

Hickenlooper added he would like to see restrictions on access to assault weapons, saying, “I don’t think we should have military-grade weapons available to teenagers, to start.”

A full ban on assault-weapons “is still a tough sell, but you know, this is all a function of public sentiment,” he said. “I think public sentiment is clearly changing and there are more and more people out there just saying military-grade weapons don’t belong out on the streets.”

Kasich voted for an assault weapons ban in 1994 while a member of Congress. The law was put in place but expired in 2004.

The Republican governor said he believes that legislation now should focus on the size of gun magazines.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images, FILEOhio Governor John Kasich speaks to reporters after a closed meeting with President Donald Trump, Feb. 24, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

“Why do you have to have a weapon with 30 bullets on it?,” Kasich said of large-capacity magazines. “Can you limit that?”

The 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people, mostly students, at Stoneman Douglas opened fire at the school with an AR-15-style rifle, according to police.

“To me, if you can get at the ammunition, then you will have made a significant impact on the ability of somebody without reloading, to cause enormous damage,” Kasich said. “And maybe we’ll see [President Trump] buy into that.”

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