The Ohio background check system has been described as dangerously deficient. Of the 500,000 warrants open in Ohio only around 18,000 were registered in to the federal background check system. Seen as a “major flaw” by the governor as the system is there to vet those purchasing guns and prohibit purchases to those who should be barred from ownership. A plan has now been put forward by the Governor that would require the submission of warrants to the federal authorities. These warrants to cover domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. In it’s current form the system is seen as woefully incomplete due to the fact that the reporting of required information is not being auctioned by numerous local authorities. It is hoped that addressing these issues (Ohio General Assembly) will ensure the Ohio background check system is far more robust for future reporting. Currently there is no mandatory legal requirement for how readily the courts act to update databases, there are also no penalties for reporting failures.
Currently anyone in Ohio sentenced or accused of a violent crime, domestic violence or a drug offense can not purchase or possess a gun. Proposed legislation would require reporting to Ohio’s Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and the National Crime Information Center, which is one of 3 database that makes up NICS, queried by licensed firearms dealers prior to approval of gun purchases. How much the changes (Ohio background check system) will cost to implement remains unclear but likely the State will foot the bill. There is also consideration as to costs for training taking in 88 counties and approximately 1400 local governments. It has taken a number of mass shootings in quick succession to again highlight deficiencies in the background check reporting system but cost is cited as one issue, especially in rural areas. However Dayton police dept have pointed out that there was nothing in the shooter’s background preventing the 24 year old from purchasing the firearm he used.
While the NICS system has, according to the FBI, been responsible for over 1.6 million prohibited sales the wider reporting makes for uncomfortable reading. There is a gaping chasm between those warrants reported against those active. In 2014 around 2.1 million wanted individuals were in the NCIC databse when more than 7.8 million active warrants were in databases State wide. The question remains should a law be required to ensure current and accurate reporting to background check databases. A spending bill in 2018 required States to submit proposals (Justice Dept) on reporting improvements. However why do States need to be incentivized to report more information to NICS, it was further reported that a number of States missed the deadline. Under the Governor’s proposal law enforcement and local courts would have 48 hours for submission of records. A database is only as effective as when supported by the input of prompt up to date information and the integrity of that data. A report from 2018 also confirmed only 21% of court officials responsible for civil protection reporting have been doing this.
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