Ohio AG review shows holes in conceal-carry licensing

Ohio

UPDATE Aug. 5, 11:57 a.m.: A statement from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was added to the end of the story.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has made moves to keep those ruled mentally incompetent from having concealed-carry permits

An analysis between two different Ohio databases showed that out of the 700,000 conceal-carry holders in Ohio, 41 of them hda been ruled adjudicated mentally incompetent in court. This means these people were ruled unable to care for their own affairs by a probate judge.

This information was revealed in a report released today by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. He ordered a review of concealed-handgun licenses against the state’s mental incompetency database. The mental incompetency database is under the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is ran by the Attorney General’s Office. The state’s concealed-handgun license database is confidential and under the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which is ran by the Governor’s office. Yost said this was the first time the state had ran such a report.

“There are two things everyone in America seems to agree on when it comes to guns, and we argue about everything when it comes to guns,” Yost told WDTN.com. “First of all, if you are adjudicated mentally incompetent with full due process, we don’t want you to own a gun. The second thing everyone agrees on is (we should) enforce the laws that are already on the books.”

Yost said that being declared adjudicated mentally incompetent is different than being declared mentally ill. To be declared adjudicated mentally incompetent, you have to go through probate court and the ruling has to come from a judge that you can no longer handle your own affairs. This measure of due process is required to keep a person from getting a concealed handgun license.

The report found the 41 had managed to acquire conceal-carry permits because they were declared mentally incompetent by the court after they had already received a concealed-carry license, or paperwork in the system was behind when they were granted the permit.

“In most of these cases, they had the concealed-carry permit first and got their background check,” Yost said. “Then a court found them not mentally competent. There was no mechanism in the law to come back around (to rescind the CCW permit).

According to the AG office’s report, Montgomery County had the most mentally incompetent people with concealed-carry permits of any county in the state with eight. Miami, Preble, Greene and Butler each had one.

Yost said those counties had been contacted prior to the release of the report as to who the individuals were and their CCWs were revoked. Yost also said the county numbers didn’t correlate to anything as to how well a county was handling CCW requests.

“Someone was going to have the most,” Yost said.

Yost said the office’s next project will cross-reference criminal background checks with conceal-carry permits once a new database vendor is put in place in November. He said the office tried to cross-reference the two databases before but ran into compatibility problems. Once the office has its new system in place in November, Yost said that should change. He said database issues will become a larger problem for the state because of larger reliance on data use by the government.

“This isn’t going to be a one-off,” Yost said about changing the database system. “The next 15 years, this is going to be one of the big problems that need to be addressed by the government. We need to be able to get these vast databases to be able to talk to each other and truly be useful if we are going to have a data-driven policy.”

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office gave WDTN.com a statement on the Attorney General’s report:

The report the Attorney General’s Office issued describes discrepancies with the concealed carry system—one of which being that sheriffs are not automatically notified when a CHL holder is deemed to be mentally incompetent. The lack of an automated process to inform the office where the permit was issued out of in order to revoke the individual of their license is indeed a weakness in the licensing process. We fully support the work that the Attorney General is doing to help create an automated process that allows BCI to cross-check the CHL and MI database on a regular basis. Currently, the only way our CCW department is notified about permits that need to be revoked is through BCI by phone and mail. The new automated system would streamline this process so that the issuing agency can immediately take action on the CHL in question. Our office takes immediate action anytime we are notified that an individual may have been deemed mentally incompetent.  These individuals who have had their license revoked were deemed mentally incompetent after they had already received their permit.   

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department

To read the office’s report on its findings, you can read it on the Attorney General’s website.

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