Gov. Mike DeWine called for improvements to Ohio’s background check systems during a Wednesday press conference and said that he plans to release a gun-related bill for the General Assembly to consider in the coming weeks.
“Our state and national background check systems are only as good as the data they hold, yet a great deal of vital information on dangerous individuals is missing from these systems,” DeWine said during the press conference. “This lapse creates a substantial risk to the public, to victims, and to law enforcement officers who unknowingly encounter wanted suspects. It is time that Ohio takes action to fix this major flaw.”
As part of my forthcoming #StrongOhio bill that I am recommending to the General Assembly, we will enhance the state/ federal background check systems to better protect law enforcement & the public and help prevent the sale of guns to those prohibited from purchasing a firearm. pic.twitter.com/30wJFbq54i
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) August 28, 2019
According to a press release, DeWine will ask the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation that would mandate courts to enter “final domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault protection orders” into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
He will also ask lawmakers to require law enforcement agencies to enter warrants for serious offenses within the same two-day time frame.
DeWine noted that there are (as of March 2019) more than 500,000 open arrest warrants in Ohio, but only 217,052 of those warrants were in LEADS and only 18,117 were in NCIC, a program used by the FBI for conducting background checks on prospective gun buyers.
“Responsible gun shop owners don’t want to sell a gun to someone who shouldn’t have one, so when they call the FBI for a background check, they depend on the information to be correct,” DeWine said. “When it’s not, the system is failing not only these business owners but the public as well. It’s time to stop talking about the problem and start working to fix it. Otherwise, these point-of-sale background checks are useless.”
DeWine said he’s asked Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and InnovateOhio to “develop a system that will allow for the fast, seamless submission of warrant and protection order information to LEADS and NCIC.”
“The current process to enter warrants and protection orders is slow, cumbersome, and costly for local governments,” he added. “I recognize that if we’re asking authorities to do more, we need to help them.”
Husted said in a press release that the goal is to “keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
“But the current background system that is supposed to prevent people who’ve committed violent crimes from purchasing guns often doesn’t work, and we’re going to fix it,” he said.
After the mass shooting in Dayton, DeWine released a 17-point proposal to address gun violence, which included calls for a red-flag law in Ohio.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine.