Philadelphia, Jan. 18, 2013 — CeaseFirePA, a coalition of Pennsylvanians, mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, and community organizations, greeted with enthusiasm the report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this week Pennsylvania uploaded 643,167 mental health records into the national instant criminal background check system. Simply put, Pennsylvania now is sharing with the nation records that would block certain people from purchasing firearms. CeaseFirePA Executive Director Shira Goodman explained, “We thank Governor Corbett and State Police Commissioner Noonan for breaking the long gridlock and acting to protect Pennsylvanians and all Americans.”
For many years, Pennsylvania has been among the least cooperative states in sharing data with the federal system. This effectively created a system where a Pennsylvanian who would be barred from purchasing a gun here in Pennsylvania (where access to the Pennsylvania instant criminal background check system would have revealed the mental health records) might be able to cross state lines and purchase a gun in a state that only had access to the federal system. Attaining compliance now, as the nation and state focus on the issue of gun violence, is an important signal that Pennsylvania is ready to be part of the solution.
“There is much work still to be done in Pennsylvania,” said Goodman. “That is why we are bringing Pennsylvanians from across the Commonwealth to Harrisburg on Wednesday January 23 at noon for a Day of Action. Our elected officials need a reason to act. Give them that reason. Please join us in taking a stand against gun violence – starting in Harrisburg on January 23.”