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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 3, 2019 09:30 AM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay
To: All House members
Subject: Repealing and Replacing Pennsylvania’s Gun Background Check System and Improving the Reporting of PFA’s
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to repeal the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and replace it with the National Instant Check System (NICS). My legislation will only allow the transfer of a firearm if the firearm dealer receives a “unique approval number and proceed response” from NICS. This legislation will also include significant improvements in the transmission of relevant records of PFA’s to NICS to increase safety for every state in the country, not just Pennsylvania.

As of today, there are certain PFA’s that PICS cannot or will not load into NICS because of a lack of a number identifier (social security number, birthday), particularly dealing in temporary PFA’s where someone may not readily know that information, which puts all of us at risk. This bill will allow for the Pennsylvania State Police to access the PennDot driver’s license system so that it improves the chances a number identifier can be found and the PFA can be filed properly with NICS, thus preventing someone from purchasing a firearm who shouldn’t have access to one.

Currently 30 states, the District of Columbia and five territories use NICS successfully to conduct a firearms background check on their behalf. Thirteen states, including Pennsylvania, duplicate the NICS process with an additional system for all firearm sales. In the past, NICS did not have the capability to customize their software to each states laws and requirements for a firearms background check, but today they do. Pennsylvania can successfully upgrade to NICS and improve the efficiency and quality of the background check being completed while reducing costs and eliminating the fee citizens pay to exercise a Constitutional Right. Similar to 26 other states, this legislation also allows a Pennsylvania License to Carry a Firearm to take the place of a redundant background check.

Introduced as HB1244