Recheck Gun Permit Records

One look at the numbers and it is obvious something isn’t right with safeguards intended to deny concealed gun permits to people with some mental illnesses.

Part of the system involves counties reporting information about people subjected to court-ordered hospitalization for mental illness. But numbers collected by Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office don’t add up. They don’t appear to come even close to making sense.

Figures reported, as required by law, to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation vary wildly. For example, according to DeWine’s office, 245 people in Belmont County received court-ordered mental health treatment during the past nine years.

Just north in Jefferson County, the number reported for nine years is just one. Yes, one.

Either Jefferson County is remarkably free of mental illness requiring court-ordered treatment, or something is terribly wrong with numbers reported to the bureau. Harrison and Monroe counties reported no such cases, by the way.

Similar apparent discrepancies were found in many other counties, according to DeWine’s office. Hamilton County reported 10,390 people receiving mental health treatment ordered by judges during the past nine years. But Cuyahoga County, with half again as many residents as Hamilton, reported only 3,261 cases.

DeWine’s office says there is no reason to believe anyone disqualified by law from obtaining a concealed-carry permit did so. Still, officials are contacting probate courts in all 88 counties to determine why the numbers, at least in relation to populations, don’t seem to be accurate.

There are a variety of reasons why that may be so. For example, mental health treatment may have been reported in the county where it was provided, not that where the patient lived.

Still, DeWine is right to be concerned about the reports. Very quickly, a determination needs to be made whether some names that should be on state lists preventing them from obtaining concealed-carry permits have escaped the reporting requirement.

If so, the whole process of granting such permits needs to be re-examined. Ohioans should not have to wonder whether someone they know to be mentally unstable is carrying a gun.