Columbus, Dayton Sue State Over Gun Background Checks

The NICS background check isn’t flawless. We saw that in Sutherland Springs, TX a couple of years back. The background check can only find data that’s been input into the system.


Much of that was addressed, of course, through legislation passed in the aftermath of Sutherland Springs.

Unfortunately, for some, there’s still a big problem remaining. In Ohio, for example, a couple of cities are filing a lawsuit against the state because of what they claim is a similar problem.

 Incomplete reporting by counties of people with criminal backgrounds who are prohibited from owning guns is putting public safety at risk, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by the cities of Columbus and Dayton.

The complaint filed in state court in Columbus against Attorney General Dave Yost seeks to have a judge order the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to fix the problem created by this underreporting. Yost oversees the bureau.

Many counties don’t provide the full number of criminal dispositions to the state, creating a situation that means thousands of people could have access to gun purchases who shouldn’t, the lawsuit said.

For example, more than half of Ohio’s 88 counties had “at least one court or law enforcement department that didn’t report records on time or in a few cases, at all,” Keith Faber, Ohio’s Republican state auditor, reported last year, according to the lawsuit.

Faber’s review determined that the state’s system for entering information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is broken and needs immediate attention, the lawsuit said.

“The records missing from our background check system create unacceptable risks to public safety,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a leader in addressing gun violence following last year’s mass shooting in a city entertainment district that killed nine and wounded more than two dozen.


Now, this is not the most outrageous claim I’ve ever heard. I mean, we’ve seen this happen before, after all.

However, Yost argues that there are problems with this claim. In particular, it seems no one bothered to reach out to his office ahead of time about addressing this. Instead, they jumped straight to a lawsuit.

I can see his point.

Especially since Dayton and Columbus have Democrats at their respective helms and Yost is a Republican. Reaching out to him would have allowed Yost to address the problem more privately, thus depriving them of their anti-gun headlines and a chance at gaining within their party.

That said, if this came from a state audit, Yost should have already known and addressed the issue. It shouldn’t have required a couple of Democrats to reach out or to file a lawsuit. He should have recognized the political IED for what it was and dealt with it.

On the other hand, though these mayors are overstating the threat. While a handful of people who shouldn’t buy guns may have walked into gun stores and passed background checks, many of those who are prohibited know they are and likely purchased their guns on the black market anyway. There’s really not much evidence that this has resulted in much of anything within the state.


But Democrats tend to not care about those little things. The hysteria over what they think might happen is so much more important than what actually happens.

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