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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 18, 2023 11:39 AM
From: Representative Greg Scott
To: All House members
Subject: Mental Health Reporting Requirements
Responsible firearms sales depend on the timely reporting of records to the Pennsylvania State Police for inclusion in the background check prior to purchasing a gun. Unfortunately, laws governing notifications for individuals with a mental health record that prohibits firearm possession have not been updated since the mid- '90s. Currently, judges of the courts of common pleas must notify state police of an individual's adjudication, involuntary treatment, or commitment within seven days. That is seven potentially critical days wherein information disqualifying an individual from purchasing a firearm would not appear during the background check process. A review of gun violence data found that “nearly all persons who engage in mass shootings were in a state of crisis in the days or weeks preceding the shooting.”

The timely reporting of individuals prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm is critical to the accuracy and effectiveness of the background check system. For these reasons, I will be introducing a legislative package to reduce the timeframe for notification from seven days to between 72 and 96 hours. This would align standards more closely with similar reporting measures already in place nationwide.

Cutting notification timeframes in half will improve the quality and completeness of firearm background checks and reduce the risk of serious incidents. Please join me in strengthening our background check system to better protect our communities from firearm violence.

Document #1

Introduced as HB1157

Description: The first bill would reduce the timeframe in which a judge must notify Pennsylvania State Police of a mental health record that prohibits firearm possession for notification in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

Document #2

Introduced as HB1992

Description: The second bill would make the same change, reducing the timeframe in which Pennsylvania State Police are notified of a mental health record that prohibits firearm possession in the Mental Health Procedures Act.