Ohio Concealed Handgun License approved as background check


The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has certified the Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL) as a valid NICS-compliant background check for firearm purchases.

This is the result of more than six years of work by BFA to improve and simplify background checks for Ohio gun owners.

When someone wants to buy a firearm from a dealer with a Federal Firearms License, the dealer must first make sure the buyer is legally approved to make the purchase. After the buyer fills out Federal Form 4473, the dealer either calls in the information or submits it online so the BATFE can perform the required background check and issue the approval.

“Sometimes the system is down,” says Jim Irvine, Board President of BFA. “Or high demand overwhelms the system. Or maybe bad weather prevents government employees from showing up for work.

“For some unlucky people, they share a name with someone else who is not permitted to purchase firearms or errors in the database cause delays. Historically, this has not always been a user-friendly system. Now, Ohio gun owners finally have a solution.”

House Bill 234 passed in December of 2014 and became law in March of 2015. That bill improved the background check and added disqualifications so that people who are not permitted to buy or possess firearms do not qualify for a CHL.

By aligning the rules governing the Ohio CHL with federal law, and by checking CHL applications against the same databases the NICS system uses to ensure that everyone issued an Ohio CHL is qualified to buy a gun, the Ohio CHL has been approved as a valid NICS check.

“This is a big improvement,” continued Irvine. “It’s good for everyone. Legal gun buyers will benefit because they can just show their license when making a firearm purchase. And even those who favor stricter gun regulation will like it because it will help the system do what it’s supposed to do, which is help cut down on illegal purchases.”

The NICS check is valid for five years, the same as the CHL. If a CHL holder commits a disqualifying offense, sheriffs are notified and can revoke the license and, therefore, revoke the ability of the CHL holder to use the license to purchase a firearm.

“Several other states have been doing this for years and it works well for BATFE, gun dealers, and individuals. It is a proven system in which Ohio is now participating for the benefit of everyone.”

Only Concealed Handgun Licenses issued on or after March 23, 2015 are NICS-compliant. For those issued before that date, license holders must wait until they renew their CHL for their license to be recognized as NICS-compliant.

In addition, it may take time for dealers with a Federal Firearms License to learn about this new process. Please be patient during this transition period.