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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 14, 2022 01:34 PM
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 re-introduce legislation (former HB 280) to repeal the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and replace it with the National Instant Check System (NICS). My legislation will not change the protections a background check system affords for our society. The NICs system is even more efficient than our current run state system (PICs) and will only allow the transfer of a firearm if the firearm dealer receives a “unique approval number and proceed response” from NICS. In hearings in past sessions, testimony was presented that there is no way to improve the lackluster performance and high number of false positives of our current system without investing many more millions of dollars to replace it, on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars currently spent, that Pennsylvania can ill afford.  
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 31 states, the District of Columbia and three territories use NICS successfully to conduct a firearms background check on their behalf. Twelve states, including Pennsylvania, duplicate the NICS process with an additional system for all firearm sales. Other states have successfully migrated away from the state-run firearms background check system. In the past, NICS did not have the capability to customize their software to each state’s 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. 
My legislation will also demonstrably improve access to background check information for issuing authority for Licenses to Carry Concealed Firearms. The current PICs system has been unavailable or unresponsive many times during this current health crisis severely limiting the issuance of LTCF’s and denying citizens their right to self-defense off their personal property. 
Similar to 24 other states, which now provide their citizens the option of what is known as the Permanent Brady Alternative, this legislation reinforces current unenforced law that already provides for the use of a Pennsylvania License to Carry a Firearm to take the place of a redundant and resource intensive background checks. It’s important to note that this option has functioned flawlessly in those states. In addition, this will alleviate some of the problems we have seen during high traffic periods in conducting background checks and lessons the unfunded mandate that this law imposes on legitimate firearms dealers. 

Please considering joining me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB154