COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) – Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an executive order Monday afternoon asking a committee of state agencies to take a closer look at how flaws in the way Ohio reports data to a national background check system are allowing firearms to fall into the wrong hands.
Federally licensed gun stores use the National Instant Criminal Background System, or NICS, to check if a gun buyer is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm.
In 2015, a committee of state agencies found there were gaps in reporting state data into the background check system.
Under an executive order signed on Monday, Kasich has asked the same group of agencies to reconvene to take a closer look to determine if agencies are accurately reporting data in a timely manner. The Republican governor said that improvements to the system would help reduce gun violence.
“You’ve got a case here in Ohio where this data’s not being reported. So you have people who are felons who, with the data not being put into the NICS system, people who have no business having guns have these guns,” Kasich said at a news conference before signing the executive order Monday afternoon.
The governor announced the move in an early morning tweet.
“In too many communities, convictions aren’t uploaded to the National Criminal Background Check system as they should be. This afternoon, I’ll take action to help close this gap to keep weapons out of the wrong hands in our state,” Kasich tweeted.
Kasich’s action comes as students and gun-control groups have protested for stricter gun control after February’s mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 dead and 17 people wounded.
As the national debate over gun violence rages, the issue has come to the forefront in an election year that will see a contest between Democrats and Republicans to take control of the governor’s mansion in Ohio. Kasich will end his tenure because of term limits.
Since he became governor in 2010, Kasich has signed over a dozen gun bills into law, including easing regulations on where Ohioans can carry concealed handguns. Daycares, state parking garages, bars, restaurants, and universities are all fair game under state law.
But the governor has recently proposed legislation that would include “red flag” laws that prevent those who exhibit signs of violence from obtaining firearms.
Kasich is relatively moderate conservative and is seen by some as a potential primary challenger to President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.