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ACLU Raises Privacy Concerns Over New Gun Background Check Bill

gun in holster
Eric Gay
Associated Press

The ACLU of Ohio 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, by expanding “mental illness” to include moderate to severe substance abuse disorder.

Gary Daniels with the Ohio ACLU 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.

Daniels says the ALCU also has questions about the personal and private information about mental health and substance abuse that would be entered into the 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,” he says.