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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 11, 2021 11:22 AM
From: Representative Christopher B. Quinn
To: All House members
Subject: Juvenile Records and Firearm Background Checks (Former HB2294)
On August 4, 2019 a disturbed 24-year old man named Connor Betts opened fire into a crowd in Dayton, Ohio with an AR-15 style rifle in a pistol configuration with a shortened barrel and equipped with a 100-round drum magazine. In the 32 seconds that followed, this man killed 9 people and injured 27 more before being killed by police.

All of us were shocked and horrified by this news. In the days and weeks that followed, however, we learned that this troubled young man was also a troubled juvenile. Several of his former classmates noted revealed that Betts had made a “hit list” of males to kill and females to rape while he was in high school. Prosecutors confirmed that they filed a case against Betts as a juvenile. But regardless of the outcome, nothing prohibited Betts’s acquisition of a firearm because after a period of time juvenile records are expunged from firearm background checks.

The same loophole exists here in Pennsylvania, and I ask you to join me in closing it. While for the most serious offenses, the prohibition is lifetime, for others the prohibition lasts 15 years from the adjudication or until the person reaches age 30. So a juvenile could show the same disturbing behavior as Betts and obtain a firearm as soon as 26. Although the fundamental idea of a juvenile justice system is rehabilitation that leads to a clean slate, I believe the public interest would be better served by requiring that the minimum age for a juvenile adjudicated delinquent of a prohibiting crime should be 30.

Please join me in enhancing the quality of our background checks – and the safety of our citizens – by sponsoring this bill.

Introduced as HB1247