Pa. firearms background check system hits record volume, again


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania State Police announced that the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) again set a record for activity in the first quarter of 2021. This is the third quarter in a row that a record amount of activity has been reached.

Established in 1998, PICS is used by county sheriffs, chiefs of police of cities of the first class, and licensed firearms dealers in Pennsylvania to determine an individual’s legal ability to acquire a license to carry firearms or obtain a firearm through a purchase or transfer.

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There were 427,450 PICS checks conducted from January 1 to March 31, 2021. For reference, there were 304,879 checks conducted during the same period in 2020. There were 420,581 checks in the fourth quarter of 2020, and 406,151 in the third quarter of 2020.

There were 6,444 individuals denied, and several thousand applicants were subsequently referred to local or state law enforcement.

In Pennsylvania, a person commits a felony of the third degree if they make a false oral or written statement on any federal or state agency form or willfully presents false identification that is likely to deceive a firearm seller, licensed dealer, or licensed manufacturer. When an individual provides false information on a state and/or federal form, an investigation is initiated, and an investigation referral is sent to the corresponding law enforcement agency. Individuals may also be identified as having an active warrant for their arrest during the background check process.

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