FLASH: Ohio Concealed Handgun License Approved as Background Check

COLUMBUS, OH - Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) is pleased to announce that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has certified the Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL) as a valid NICS-compliant background check for firearm purchases. Click here to see the letter from the BATFE.

This is the result of more than six years of work by BFA to improve and simplify background checks for Ohio gun owners. Thanks also goes to Attorney General Mike DeWine, who worked with the BATFE to help win this approval.

And it's great news for Ohio CHL holders and law-abiding citizens who frequently get a "hold" when trying to buy a firearm.

When someone wants to buy a firearm from a dealer with a Federal Firearms License, the dealer must first make sure the buyer is legally approved to make the purchase. After the buyer fills out Federal Form 4473, the dealer either calls in the information or submits it online so the BATFE can perform the required background check and issue the approval.

While this is typically called an "instant background check," for many people it is anything but instant.

"Sometimes the system is down," says Jim Irvine, Board President of BFA. "Or high demand overwhelms the system. Or maybe bad weather prevents government employees from showing up for work.

"For some unlucky people, they share a name with someone else who is not permitted to purchase firearms or errors in the database cause delays. Historically, this has not always been a user-friendly system. Now, Ohio gun owners finally have a solution."

House Bill 234 passed in December of 2014 and became law in March of 2015. That bill improved the background check and added disqualifications so that people who are not permitted to buy or possess firearms do not qualify for a CHL.

By aligning the rules governing the Ohio CHL with federal law, and by checking CHL applications against the same databases the NICS system uses to ensure that everyone issued an Ohio CHL is qualified to buy a gun, the Ohio CHL has been approved as a valid NICS check.

"This is a big improvement," continued Irvine. "It's good for everyone. Legal gun buyers will benefit because they can just show their license when making a firearm purchase. And even those who favor stricter gun regulation will like it because it will help the system do what it's supposed to do, which is help cut down on illegal purchases."

The NICS check is valid for five years, the same as the CHL. If a CHL holder commits a disqualifying offense, sheriffs are notified and can revoke the license and, therefore, revoke the ability of the CHL holder to use the license to purchase a firearm.

"Several other states have been doing this for years and it works well for BATFE, gun dealers, and individuals. It is a proven system in which Ohio is now participating for the benefit of everyone."

NOTE: Only Concealed Handgun Licenses issued on or after March 23, 2015 are NICS-compliant. For those issued before that date, license holders must wait until they renew their CHL for their license to be recognized as NICS-compliant.

In addition, it may take time for dealers with a Federal Firearms License to learn about this new process. Please be patient during this transition period.

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CLICK HERE to read the official letter of announcement on the BATFE website.

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Following is a press release from the Ohio Attorney General's office:

Valid Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holders No Longer Required to Submit to Additional Background Checks for Gun Purchases

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that Ohioans who have a valid concealed handgun license have now had background checks sufficient to purchase firearms without the red tape of another background check. 

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have agreed to Attorney General DeWine’s request for an exemption to the mandatory National Instant Criminal Background Check provided the Ohio concealed handgun license was issued on or after March 23, 2015, and that the permit has not expired under state law or been revoked.

“I’m pleased Ohio concealed carry license holders will not  have to undergo additional background checks each time they want to buy a firearm,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Ohio concealed carry license holders who are in good standing have already passed thorough state and federal background checks  so there is no reason  to force them to submit to additional checks if they want to buy a firearm.”

Attorney General DeWine was able to work with the ATF to obtain this exemption following changes made by the Ohio General Assembly in House Bill 234 that required the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for all new and renewed concealed handgun licenses.

Ohio is the 25th state to receive a NICS exemption for its concealed handgun license holders.

The ATF’s NICS Exemption List can be viewed here: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/permanent-bradypermit-chart

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Related Article:

What HB 234 Means to You: Part I - NICS compliant background checks

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