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Ohio Begins Implementing Working Group Recommendations for Improved Gun-Purchase Background Check System

COLUMBUS – Today Governor John R. Kasich took action to begin implementing recommendations of a working group he reconvened in April 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 working group developed a 39-page report that assessed the current level of compliance in Ohio and identified barriers that exist to achieving comprehensive, up-to-date reporting. Those recommendations include ways to expand training and education to those responsible for submitting data into the system, reforms to reduce duplicative or unclear reporting responsibilities and ensure greater coordination among entities.  

In addition, the working group published a reporting compliance manual for local governments and elected officials who have responsibility for inputting data into the background check system and ways they can overcome compliance barriers.

By signing Executive Order 2018-10K, Kasich permanently established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Compliance Working Group to continue working to ensure that gaps in the system are closed.  Kasich also signed Executive Order 2018-11K to adopt emergency rules to require law enforcement agencies to upload protection order and warrants into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) to close an existing reporting gap identified by the working group.

“By closing gaps in the gun-buyer background check system, we can make it less likely that dangerous people are able to purchase firearms,” said Kasich.  “I’m grateful to the working group for putting together such a thorough report and Ohioans will be safer as result of their continued work.”

Anyone buying a firearm must undergo a background check to make sure they are not prohibited by federal or state law from possessing a firearm.  Those background checks only protect the public if the information in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is complete, accurate, and up to date.  The database includes criminal conviction sentences, protection orders, and mental health records that, in Ohio, should be inputted. 

Earlier this year, Gov. Kasich brought together leaders with a variety of backgrounds to search for common ground on new policies that can protect Ohioans’ lives and respect their constitutional rights.  The group reached unanimous agreement on a proposal that has been introduced as legislation in the General Assembly HB 585/SB 288.  Those bills include closing gaps in the background check system.  

The two executive orders can be viewed here and the full report from the working group is available here.