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 Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”)  database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

Ohio has no laws requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS. Ohio requires a probate judge who finds an individual to be a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order to notify the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (“BCII”) of the identity of the individual.2 Similarly, the chief clinical officer of a hospital, agency, or facility must notify BCII if a person becomes an involuntary patient other than one who is a patient only for purposes of observation.3 The officer or judge must use the form prescribed by the attorney general for the notification. The notification must be transmitted by the judge or the officer no later than seven days after the adjudication or commitment.4

State law requires this information to be used for incompetency records checks for concealed weapons permits, and states that this information is confidential.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see Background Checks in Ohio and the Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Ohio.

 See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. 

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4).[]
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 5122.311.[]
  3. Id.[]
  4. Id.[]
  5. Id.[]