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Kasich Taking Steps to Improve Background Checks

COLUMBUS – Today Governor John R. Kasich took steps to improve the background check system that helps make sure guns stay out of the hands of people prohibited by law from having them.

The executive order signed by Kasich today follows recent reforms proposed by a bipartisan group the governor convened that recommended changes to improve compliance by local governments and others with the background check system. Those reforms were included in legislation recently introduced in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate.

The reliability of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is dependent upon the information submitted by reporting agencies, such as clerks of court and local law enforcement agencies. Getting this required information into the system in a timely fashion makes it less likely that a prohibited individual is able to purchase a firearm. Unfortunately, a review in 2015 by a working group composed of the Office of Criminal Justice Service (OCJS) of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and Ohio Supreme Court concluded improvements at the local level were necessary to get required data uploaded to the system in a timely and accurate manner. 

“Better access to more comprehensive, up-to-date information will greatly improve background checks so dangerous people are less likely to purchase guns,” said Kasich.

The order reconvenes the 2015 working group and charges them with assessing the current level of compliance across the state, as well as requiring the OCJS to issue a report on to the current status of the reporting of NICS data and any barriers that exist to achieving comprehensive reporting.

In addition, Ohio will publish a reporting compliance manual for local governments and elected officials who have responsibility for imputing data into NICS, and make recommendations on how to overcome remaining compliance barriers.

Finally, the Governor has requested that the Ohio Auditor of State immediately begin to include compliance with NICS reporting in any annual or biennial audit of local public offices and make those finding available on the Auditor’s website.

Executive Order 2018-03K can be viewed here.