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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 20, 2023 11:44 AM
From: Senator John I. Kane and Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, Sen. Jimmy Dillon
To: All Senate members
Subject: Voluntary Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registry
We will soon introduce legislation to create a Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registry. The purpose of this voluntary registry is to reduce self-harm and suicides in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The legislation is modeled on Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registry laws enacted in the state of Washington and Commonwealth of Virginia. Similar legislation has been introduced in California, Louisiana, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. 

According to an article in the October 2020 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and CDC statistics, suicides are the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and half of all suicides involve a firearm. In Pennsylvania, 65 of 67 counties have been unable to meet statewide goals to reduce suicides under the PA Department of Health’s Healthy People 2020 goals.
The Do-Not-Sell (DNS) Registry is a solution to help prevent suicides and self-harm. The DNS Registry is a patient driven initiative that allows people to add their own names voluntarily and confidentially into federal and state firearm background check systems to prevent them from purchasing firearms. Studies have shown that delaying firearm purchases has reduced suicides without increasing suicides by other means.
The legislation will allow people to add their names to the Do-Not-Sell Registry through four options:
  1. A website run by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP),
  2. Submitting paperwork in person to the County Sheriff’s office,
  3. Mailing forms and a photocopy of a government issued identification to the PSP, or
  4. Texting forms and a photocopy of a government issued identification to the PSP. 
Participants can change their minds at any time and may remove their names from the Do-Not-Sell Firearms registry. A registrant may remove their name from the Do-Not-Sell registry by any of the four means listed above. The processing time for the removal is 21 days to remove someone’s name from the registry and to purge all records from state and federal firearm background check systems. There is a provision to allow an expedited removal of the person’s name from a Do-Not-Sell registry if the person can prove by preponderance of evidence that they will not commit self-harm or present a danger to public safety.
To protect confidentiality the legislation includes fines or prison sentences for unauthorized disclosures of names that are on the Do-Not-Sell registry. The legislation also includes penalties for discrimination against someone that is on or was on the registry as well as penalties for anyone that sells firearms to someone that is on the registry.
The legislation requires health care professionals to provide information on the do not sell registry to folks that are hospitalized for self-harm. The legislation also requires education programs on the law for health care professionals. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will also develop and implement an advertising campaign to educate Pennsylvanians about this law. This is important as studies have shown that folks who die by suicide see a primary care provider in the year prior to their death.
The NEJM article states that Do-Not-Sell Firearm Registries can reduce suicide risk in advance of a crisis. Registries are advanced directives for firearm-related purchases for those with self-harm and mental health issues. The DNS Registry gives Pennsylvanians a tool to help make sound decisions before a crisis strikes.
Please join us in cosponsoring this legislation to provide an important tool to Pennsylvanians that will help prevent suicides and self-harm.

Introduced as SB641