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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2021 04:58 PM
From: Representative Brian Sims
To: All House members
Subject: Background Checks for Ammunition Sales
In the days leading up to the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the perpetrator legally ordered more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition online in a process that the New York Times described as “pretty much as easy as ordering a book from Amazon.” Seventy people were shot by the perpetrator within a few minutes, resulting in 12 deaths.
Pennsylvanians who are prohibited from buying a gun can still purchase ammunition. In an effort to prevent future mass shootings, I am proposing legislation that would only allow licensed firearms dealers to sell ammunition and would allow businesses to use existing licenses to sell both firearms and ammunition. When a person wishes to purchase ammunition, the licensee would contact the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS), and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) would conduct a background investigation. If a person is prohibited by state law from possessing a firearm, they should also be prohibited from purchasing and possessing ammunition. As to not unduly burden responsible, law-abiding gun owners, a PSP ammunition purchase authorization can be obtained, which would allow an individual to purchase ammunition for four years without the need to get a background check for every ammunition purchase.
New York and California have already passed legislation that requires background checks at the point of sale for ammunition. Additionally, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have also passed laws requiring individuals to undergo a background check in order to obtain the license necessary to purchase or possess ammunition.
I ask that you please join me in co-sponsoring this important safety measure to help reduce gun violence.

Introduced as HB393