Ohio seeking proposals to fix state background checks


By Tyler Arnold - The Center Square



COLUMBUS — InnovateOhio is seeking requests for proposals on a plan to create a statewide program that would be used by localities to enter information related to arrests, warrants and protection orders to then be used for background checks.

The program would create an eWarrant and eProtection Order system, which would have to be easy to navigate, free to use and mandatory. The information would have to be entered within 48 hours. Currently, not all local governments provide this data to the state or federal government. This leaves databases incomplete, which can lead to someone passing a background check when he or she should not.

“The background check system is supposed to track a criminal’s history, but we know that many times, it fails to do its job and gives a clean report on known criminals and dangerous people,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who runs InnovateOhio, said in a news release. “This puts the public at risk, it puts law enforcement at risk, and is a complete miscarriage of justice.”

Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for Gov. Mike DeWine, told The Center Square that 80 percent of gun sales are subject to these background checks, while the other 20 percent are private sales, not subject to them. He said that DeWine wants the background check system to be comprehensive so nobody falls through the cracks and purchases a gun he or she cannot legally own.

Without the legal requirements in place, Tierney said that some localities did not enter this type of information, or they waited too long to do so. Although the state does not have a comprehensive analysis on how often this happened, he said there are anecdotal examples of people committing crimes with guns because of incomplete data. This could also lead to a person getting a job that he is not legally permitted to hold, he said.

Tierney said that the state would fully fund these programs because it would not be right for the localities to be given an unfunded mandate.

This push is part of DeWine’s STRONG Ohio plan, which is meant to address gun violence in the state. The plan also includes an expansion of Ohio’s pink slip laws, which would allow a person to be institutionalized for alcoholism and drug addiction and have their guns temporarily taken from them. It would also create voluntary background checks for private sales, in which a person who goes through the background check process will be given a seller protection certificate, removing possible guilt if that person then commits a crime with the weapon.

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By Tyler Arnold

The Center Square

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.