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Ohio Working On New Gun Background Check System

When compared to the same time last year, statistics for the first six months of 2020 show murder is up 27% in Ohio and other violent crime has increased 16%.

When Ohio Governor Mike DeWine responded to calls to "do something"after Dayton's Oregon District mass shooting, one thing he thought about was creating a more comprehensive background check system for people buying guns. The state is now preparing to start a pilot program with a complete rollout in 2022.

One of the governor's senior policy advisors talked about it on a Zoom call Friday as part of the "Whitney Strong" series. Andy Wilson says the new computer system is outside of the 17-point plan to deal with increasing gun violence in Ohio, Senate Bill 221.

"The information in the background check that the feds are doing is only as good as the information they are getting from the locals. So we need to improve the quality and the timeliness of the information that we are getting from our locals with regard to convictions; mental health adjudications; substance abuse adjudications." Wilson says Ohio needs to do a better job of getting the information into the system.

It would link into the federal NICS system, or National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Warrants would be entered in electronically in the new system.

People have been buying guns in record numbers in Ohio.  This comes as the murder rate is up 27% and other violent crime has increased 16% in Ohio's largest cities for the first six months of 2020.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley was part of the speaker series Friday and says the mental health crisis is contributing to the violence. "We have to get the gun laws in order but we also have to recognize that we have a mental health crisis," she says.

A spokesman for the governor's office says Ohio's improved background system will be piloted soon and rolled out for everyone in 2022.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.