The Cincinnati Enquirer has published a shocking article detailing how convicted felons and domestic abusers in the state of Ohio can still purchase firearms despite their criminal histories. The details in the report are so outrageous that Ohio Governor John Kasich tweeted that he would be taking immediate action to “keep weapons out of the wrong hands in our state.”
How are these convicted felons still able to pass a background check and buy a firearm? Simply put, Ohio courts have failed to log the information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
COLUMBUS – In Ohio, a convicted felon barred from owning a gun could still purchase one after passing a background check – all because dozens of courts have failed to upload some paperwork.
Sound familiar? A similar glitch allowed [redacted], a dishonorably discharged U.S. Air Force veteran, to purchase the gun he used to kill 26 and injure 20 more at a South Texas church last year. In that instance, the military failed to flag Kelley as a person banned from owning a gun.
State law requires courts to update the list of individuals barred from buying firearms at least once a week. But some courts went months or years without an update – without facing any repercussions, according to state audits. See which courts in your area were delinquent, here.
Without an up-to-date background check system, a gun shop owner would have no way of knowing a buyer is legally prohibited from purchasing a gun. Each court delay in submitting a name increases the risk that someone purchases a gun illegally, someone who may already have a history of violence. It’s hard to say how many names were held off the system over the years.
In too many communities, convictions aren’t uploaded to the National Criminal Background Check system as they should be. This afternoon, I’ll take action to help close this gap to keep weapons out of the wrong hands in our state.https://t.co/fElN0rigTj
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) April 23, 2018
This situation is beyond problematic, and the excuses for failing to do what’s right are equally absurd.
One woman said she was “too busy to report people banned from owning a gun or even to allow the state to pick up the paperwork to enter names into the database manually.” The Cincinnati Enquirer also states that a court put paperwork in a drawer and no one touched it for months. Another court claimed it couldn’t enter the proper information into the background check system because “its password expired.”
The report describes one of the worst cases in Marion County, stating:
The state’s worst offender was Marion County’s Common Pleas Clerk of Court. Five times in two years, officials from the attorney general’s office called the court, wondering why they had gone months without submitting any names to the background checks system. Marion County staff complained of technology problems and insufficient personnel to complete the task. Staff repeatedly refused help from the state.
The court’s clerk, Julie Kagel, is in charge of the filing. She acknowledged the court had periods of several months in which it did not send in names. Mailing paper submission is “cumbersome”…
At a time when the anti-gun left is calling for more gun laws and bans on AR-15s and “high-capacity magazines,” reporting like this shows that officials aren’t even implementing laws on the books now. Examples like this show why it’s necessary for law-abiding gun owners to have the ability to defend themselves. The government cannot be relied on to do the right thing all of the time.
Unfortunately, there are no penalties for those who fail to do their job, even though the lives of innocent people are at risk.
Heads should be rolling.
Governor John Kasich has now signed an executive order to strengthen reporting to the background check system.
— 10TV (@10TV) April 23, 2018
Government officials have dropped the ball too many times. The Waffle House shooter had a prior run-in with law enforcement, had his firearms confiscated and concealed carry license revoked, but still got his firearms back in his possession and proceeded to kill four people. The Broward Sheriff’s Office and the FBI dropped the ball regarding the Parkland shooting. And Air Force officials failed to report information to the background check system to stop the Sutherland Springs killer.
People who have the responsibility to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals need to do their jobs. That’s the first step in reducing gun violence. If the country can do that, it’d be a lot better off.