CeaseFirePA Success: Improved the Background Check System
THE BOTTOM LINE: As of February 2013 Pennsylvania has taken the necessary steps to share over 600,000 mental health records fully with the national instant background check system. In the past our state had refused to share more than 600,000 records, which if exposed in a background check, might have prohibited an individual from purchasing a firearm. It was a huge step forward for our state when the state police took action to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining a firearm.
THE FACTS: Every handgun sale in Pennsylvania must be accompanied by a background check. That actually puts Pennsylvania ahead of the curve. Many states actually allow private sellers to skip background checks on handgun sales all together. However, Pennsylvania does not require a background check on sales of long guns by private sellers. This is a loophole that should be closed.
Certain types of people are prohibited from buying or owning guns including felons, illegal drug or alcohol abusers, and people who have been adjudicated mentally ill. The only way to know if one of these "prohibited purchasers" tries to buy a gun, is by searching the background check system.
Pennsylvania is a "point of contact" state, which means we utilize our own state background check system, in addition to the federal background check system. Neither system is a registry of people who own guns. The background check systems are only a record of people who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms.
In the past those missing 600,000 records put Pennsylvanians at risk to people who leave and come back to Pennsylvania, and our state's negligence threatened the safety of people in other states.
The only way to enforce existing laws about who is and who is not legally allowed to purchase firearms, is to require a background check for every gun sale in America, and to make sure that the national background check database is complete and up to date. We thank our leaders in Harrisburg for dealing with this issue and look forward to continuing the discussion about common sense gun reforms.
Read about it:
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
The enforcement of gun laws
Opinion: Some people shouldnt have guns
Washington Observer Reporter
Editorial: Reasonable gun conrol needed
Hazleton Standard Speaker
Editorial: Plug the holes in gun buying data
Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
Get serious about background checks
Scranton Times Tribune
Fix system to help limit gun violence
Harrisburg Patriot News
State's delay on sharing information related to gun purchases is inexcuseable
Editorial: PA glitch leaves hole in national background checks
Arizona Shooting Puts Pa.'s Gun Laws in Sharp Focus: Think Pa.’s gun laws would have blocked Jared Loughner’s purchases? Think again.
Philadelphia Daily News
Report: Database used in gun background checks not up to date
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