DAYTON — Former Ohio Governor John Kasich visited the Oregon District Wednesday morning ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to the region after the mass shooting that killed nine victims.
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Kasich walked on East Fifth Street and stopped by memorials along the street before taking questions from reporters.
"To come here and see the pictures of the nine who died, and the flowers, and memorials, and writing on the sidewalk, It allows you to understand the loss, more than just seeing it on television,” Kasich told reporters Wednesday morning. “You see the outpouring of grief.”
Kasich called today a day of healing and not a day to debate President Trump.
“(Trump’s) coming, so this should be a day of healing. This is not a day of debating Donald Trump. He’s coming here,” Kasich said.
“I’m sure people are going to have something to say, and that is all part of America. But this is for him to come and help heal.”
Kasich emphasized that change to prevent other mass gun violence could be close, both in Ohio and nationwide.
“We are probably on the verge of major change. (Lawmakers) can’t let the window close.”
When asked about red flag laws, part of a proposal outlined by current Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Tuesday, Kasich called them “extremely helpful to us as a society.”
A red flag bill was introduced by former State Rep. Mike Henne, a Republican from Clayton, while Kasich was still governor in 2018, but the bill never made it to a vote in the state legislature.
Kasich acknowledged the failed proposal while he was in office during Wednesday’s interview and hoped that laws could be passed quickly in Ohio because lawmakers have already considered many of the proposals outlined by DeWine.
Kasich added he believes a red flag law will successfully pass in Ohio this time.
“I’m optimistic about it. I think the legislature is very familiar with (red flag proposals). But now I think they are going to have to do some things,” Kasich said.