Kucinich rails against opponent on guns

COLUMBUS — In what may have been a preview of next week’s Democratic debate in Toledo, gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich on Tuesday took aim at opponent Richard Cordray, accusing him of doing the bidding of the gun lobby while serving as Ohio’s attorney general.

Speaking before the City Club of Cleveland, the former congressman and presidential candidate faulted Mr. Cordray for defending in 2010 a state law passed before he took office that overrode city gun laws seen as tougher than state or federal law.

Most recently director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mr. Cordray has said that, as the state’s lawyer from 2009 to 2011, it was his job to defend state laws. But Mr. Kucinich argued that Mr. Cordray made a choice.

“[Cleveland’s] ban stood for 19 years—that is until a new attorney general, a Democrat, took office …” Mr. Kucinich said. “The truth is neither he nor any of the attorneys general that preceded him was required by law to enter any case since the Ohio attorney general’s office is constitutionally independent.

“This particular attorney general elected to take up the case,” he said. “Why? He did so at the prompting of Ohio’s gun organizations and the NRA in order to ingratiate himself with the gun lobby.”
Mr. Kucinich, a former Cleveland mayor, made the remarks nearly two weeks after a former student walked into a Parkland, Fla. high school and used an assault weapon to kill 13 students and four adults. The shootings have renewed calls nationally and in Ohio for restrictions on access to certain types of guns, particularly by those under the age of 21.

Mr. Kucinich has called for a statewide ban on assault weapons.

Mr. Cordray has unveiled his own plan.

“Rich Cordray is focused on bringing people together to stop gun violence in Ohio and save lives,” campaign spokesman Mike Gwin said. “That’s why his plan would put in place practical solutions like universal background checks, improved school safety and a ban on high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.”.

He pointed to Mr. Kucinich’s past remarks on Fox News suggesting restrictions on gun laws may not significantly reduce violence in society.

“It’s disappointing to see Kucinich tell Ohio voters one thing, and his former Fox News co-workers Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly another,” Mr. Gwin said. “But it’s hardly surprising given that he’s spent 50 years in politics engaged in constant grandstanding, and has taken both sides of every issue when it’s politically convenient.”

The two candidates will join Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni in the fourth debate officially sanctioned by the Ohio Democratic Party on March 7 at Bowsher High School. Mr. Schiavoni, however, is the only one of the four to have participated in the prior debates.

The winner of the nomination will square off against the Republican nominee, either Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor or current Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Mr. Kucinich argued that Mr. Cordray’s entry with Texas into a successful federal lawsuit against Chicago lent a critical Democratic state official voice to a case that undermined the power of cities to regulate guns.

“As attorney general, Mr. Cordray clearly made his office an extension of the NRA, even bragging to gun groups that he seized the ‘opportunity’ to use the power of his office to represent their interests on assault weapons and all gun issues,” Mr. Kucinich said.

Contact Jim Provance at or 614-221-0496.

Full story: The Toledo Blade