Bartolotta Bill Would Eliminate Redundant Background Check System

HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) introduced legislation today that would help save taxpayer dollars and streamline the purchase of firearms by eliminating a redundant state background check system.

Individuals who wish to purchase a firearm must first pass background checks through both the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and the National Instant Check System (NICS). Bartolotta’s proposal would eliminate PICS and use NICS exclusively to conduct background checks.

A 2011 report from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) found that two-thirds of PICS’s revenue comes from the General Fund to sustain its annual budget of over $6 million.

“Background checks are an important tool to prevent firearms from falling into dangerous hands, but the current system creates an expensive and unnecessary barrier between firearm dealers and their customers without providing significant value in terms of public safety,” Bartolotta said. “The money we’re spending on PICS could be put to a better use than supporting an expensive and redundant background check system.”

Thirty-six states rely solely on NICS to conduct background checks on prospective firearms purchasers. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states that duplicate the process with a state system. Bartolotta’s bill would ease the administrative burdens faced by firearms dealers surrounding the sale and purchase of firearms.

“Many firearms dealers have reported long delays, shutdowns and glitches in the state background check system that have not only hurt their business, but also created headaches for customers who were delayed or denied for no good reason,” Bartolotta said. “Eliminating PICS will remove this burden from dealers, sportsmen and firearm enthusiasts and help save time and resources.”

CONTACT:    Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463