Ohio residents have been “falsely lulled into feeling secure with Ohio’s and the federal background check system,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein in November 2020. The state-maintained background check database is missing substantial amounts of criminal history information. As reported by Courthouse News, “a minimum of 27% of Ohio felony convictions in 2015 were not reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Between 2015 to 2018, at least 90 courts had gone months at a time without reporting [many felony and domestic abuse convictions].”
The failures of the Ohio system highlight the dangers of relying only on government-run databases. When someone applies for a job or an apartment, the best way to protect the public is through at least a commercial name-based check. Commercial checks by a background check company is more compressive because they can look across all jurisdictions in a region or the U.S. Commercial checks by a background check company is fairer to applicants because those applicants are protected by accuracy and dispute standards established by federal and state law. No such protections are available when a job or an apartment applicant has only a government-run background check.