DeWine Says He'll Strengthen Gun Background Checks System

Aug 28, 2019

Gov. Mike DeWine says his administration is adding another piece to his 17-point plan to reduce gun violence by calling for more required reporting into criminal databases used for background checks.

DeWine’s plan to enhance criminal background checks includes requiring warrants to be added to state and federal background systems along with violent protective orders, and other offenses. DeWine said at a press conference announcing the change: "When critical information is missing, bad things happen."

DeWine says most Ohioans would be surprised to find out this information isn’t already required to be reported into the state and national systems.  He's requiring entry of warrants for violent crimes and final protection orders into the state and federal database - including murder, kidnapping, rape, domestic violence.

"There's no law in Ohio requiring the entry of warrants for violent crimes nor for protection orders into this system. This makes absolutely no sense," DeWine says.

DeWine says of the 217,000 warrants in the state's Law Enforcement Automated Data System or LEADS, only 18,000 were entered into the federal National Crime Information System run by the FBI.

DeWine doesn't have a dollar figure on the cost, but says it should be borne by the state, not by local governments.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says warrants, indictments, and protection orders are mainly a paper system that end up in a file somewhere but doesn’t get added into digital databases. Husted says making it digital could automatically enter these records into the background systems.

Gun rights groups have been critics of the reporting into criminal database system for years saying this is something already in place that could reduce gun violence without adding more regulation. Members of the Buckeye Firearms Association were at the press conference, and Husted has said he's working with gun rights groups to get these proposals passed.

Eric Delbert, co-owner of L.E.P.D. Firearms, Range, and Training, supports DeWine's proposed requirements saying that the move would lead to more accurate background checks.

"The last thing we want to do is sell a firearm to an individual who is prohibited from owning a firearm and see that individual go out there and cause harm to fellow citizens and to fellow law enforcement," says Delbert.

DeWine unveiled a package of gun proposals and mental health policy changes a few days after the mass shooting in Dayton earlier this month. Republican leaders of the House and Senate have suggested passing some of these proposals might be "difficult", especially his version of a "red flag" gun seizure law.