COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is developing an internet portal to provide public access to a database of stolen gun serial numbers.
“It’s not populated yet but the portal itself is nice and easy,” said Attorney General Dave Yost. “Once you log on and put the serial number in and once the database exists you’ll be able to just get an answer back – hot or not.”
Eric Delbert, co-owner of the L.E.P.D. Firearms says it’s not a cure-all to the stolen gun problem but having the serial numbers available to buyers will help.
“Ultimately, getting guns off the streets and out of the hands of the bad guys is what we want to do and if this makes it less lucrative to be able to steal guns…and if that prevents the bad guy from having an outlet to sell these guns then that’s one step in the right direction,” Delbert said.
Thousands of guns are reported stolen or missing every year in Ohio. “Most of them are being sold on the street,” Delbert said. “But there are some that are being sold in hand-to-hand transactions to legitimate people and at gun shows to legitimate people and if we could give them this tool… that will allow them to say – ‘wait a second before I buy this gun from you, because I don’t know you and you don’t know me, I want to check to make sure it’s not stolen.”
Yost says he is still working to gain the confidence of other law enforcement and government partners so his office can access the information needed.
“That data is currently collected by local jurisdictions and it lives in different places and different ways,” Yost said. “So one of the things we’re looking at is who are our willing partners to help put this together and what do we need to do legally to be able to access that data and arrange it in a way that Joe Q. Citizen and Betty Buckeye can look up that serial number.
The Attorney General said he is convinced the database is doable and that Ohio needs to do it but he was unwilling to guess how long it might take.