ACLU RaisesPrivacy Concerns Over New Gun Background Checks Bill

Oct 7, 2019

The state’s leading civil liberties group is raising concerns about a bill that would mandate more reporting of information into a database used for gun background checks.

The bill’s Republican sponsors say they want to update Ohio’s law on “pink slipping” or involuntary hospitalization to define “mental illness” to include moderate to severe substance abuse disorder. Gary Daniels with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says there are real questions about whether pink slipping is effective, but also about a shortage of treatment beds in Ohio.

“So it seems what you’re doing here is you’re compounding the problem by involuntarily committing people into a system where there already is not capacity.”

Daniels says the ALCU also has questions about the personal and private information about mental health and substance abuse that would be entered into a state background checks database. He says the law is silent on who can access that information and whether it’s public record.

“And the bill is absolutely silent on who has access to this database, for what exact purposes will they have access to it, is this information, some of it or all of it, a public record under Ohio law.”

Daniels says the ACLU is also checking into a provision in the bill that would allow for people with moderate to severe substance abuse problems to be involuntary hospitalized.

He says there’s a shortage of treatment beds in Ohio as it is, and he’s not sure involuntary commitment is even effective.