National Instant Criminal Background Check System Compliance Testing
The Ohio Auditor of State's Office is required by law to conduct financial and compliance audits of most public entities that include law-enforcement agencies and courts responsible for creating, maintaining and submitting data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
The AOS (or a designated independent public accountant) will test these entities for compliance during annual or biennial audits that end on or after December 31, 2018.
The testing procedures can be found in the Ohio Compliance Supplement, and the results of the testing will be posted to the report available via the link below as the audit reports for public offices are released.
The NICS was created as part of the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993 to provide licensed firearms dealers with a process to determine whether a potential customer is legally prohibited from purchasing a firearm. The system is overseen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
NICS comprises data uploaded by the U.S. states and federal territories and is the first line of defense against firearms ending up in the hands of persons legally ineligible to purchase or possess a firearm.
Because of the decentralized local criminal justice system in Ohio, a large portion of the information the state contributes to NICS must first be supplied and reported by local courts and government officials.
In Ohio, two databases provide NICS with the local records and information necessary to identify which people are legally prohibited from purchasing a firearm:
- Computerized Criminal History (CCH) -- created and maintained by the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Identification (BCI) pursuant to Section 109.57(A)(5) of the Revised Code
- Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) -- created by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and administered by the Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol pursuant to section 5503.10 of the Revised Code
For NICS to have complete, accurate and up-to-date records from the State of Ohio, the public officials who create and maintain the records must upload them to CCH and LEADS within the time frames established by law.