A Butler County state lawmaker is asking county sheriffs “to completely ignore” Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s executive order signed Monday to get an update on weaknesses in the state’s gun background-check system.
The order directs the Office of Criminal Justice Services to work with Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Ohio Supreme Court to update a 2015 study that found reporting gaps in the system. Kasich is also asking the state auditor to examine and publish a review of how well the local authorities are reporting the required information.
Failure by local courts and law enforcement to send timely data to the state, which forwards it to National Instant Criminal Background Check System, could mean guns are being purchased by people who are ineligible to do so.
“There is just no excuse for this data not being sent and I can’t figure it out,” Kasich said.
Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, said the executive order appears to be infringing on a person’s 2nd Amendment rights.
“I am astonished at this action and disappointed that our governor has no seeming knowledge or understanding of our U.S. Constitution, and our right to carry without infringement from government of any type,” Keller said. “I’m asking all county sheriffs to completely ignore this executive order. Executive orders are not a law-making tool. We have an un-infringed right to carry. Executive orders are not a tool to make law. It is only tool to enforce the existing law. That is why it’s called an executive order.”
Keller also said while she's telling sheriffs to ignore the executive order, she said they should not ignore the laws already on the books.
But Ohio Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., said legislators “expect” the governor to enforce laws already on the book, which appears to be the case with Kasich’s executive order.
“We’re always happy when the administration enforces laws that we have passed,” he said. “That’s what we expect. We have laws on the books relative to people being disqualified for certain reasons. We in the legislature expect that to be enforced. So the fact they have been laxed about enforcing it, now they’re going to enforce it, I think it’s a great thing.”
Butler County’s top cop said Kasich’s action is nothing more than a stunt to raise his national profile for another run for president.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said his department is in compliance with state laws “as far as I know.”
Monday’s executive order “is just to help (Kasich’s) political campaign to be president of the Untied States,” Jones, an ardent President Trump supporter said.
Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, said Kasich’s executive order announcement “was more about being in front of the cameras and appearing to do something.”
“The executive branch is charged with enforcing the laws. The governor should already have answers as to why this data isn’t being reported and what is needed to correct it,” Retherford said. “Instead he just wants reports and recommendations.”
Ohio Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., said, “it’s nothing new.”
“It is what is supposed to be getting done anyway,” he said.