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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 10, 2018 11:39 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes and Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, Sen. Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Universal Background Checks for Firearms
In the near future, we plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 209 from last session.

This legislation eliminates most of the exceptions to the requirement of a background check prior to the purchase or transfer of a firearm. The close familial transfer exception to the background check requirements would remain under this legislation. Senate Bill 209 was the product of continuing work on this issue with various stakeholders.

Currently, the Crimes Code requires firearm sales be conducted in front of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or county sheriff. However, this provision is only applicable to short-barreled firearms. Long barrel firearms, such as semi-automatic rifles, are not currently subject to these restrictions. This legislation would remove this applicability provision and require all firearm sales, regardless of the barrel length, be conducted in front of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or county sheriff.

Ultimately, this legislation would require background checks be conducted for each firearm purchase, which will ensure that individuals attempting to obtain a firearm are authorized to possess such weapons. Familial transfers will still be excluded from the background check requirement as in current law.

Please join us in protecting the residents of this Commonwealth by closing the loopholes that have permitted unauthorized individuals access to firearms. If you have any questions please contact Michael Deery in Senator Hughes’ office, at 717-787-7112, Rosemary Wuenschel in Senator Santarsiero’s office at 717-787-7305 or Krista Hair in Senator Killion’s office at 717-787-4712.

Introduced as SB88