Pennsylvania to Evaluate Its Gun Background Check System

The Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PICS, is used to determine if a person is eligible to buy a firearm or obtain a concealed carry license. State officials say they want to ensure the system works as it should.

by Tony LaRussa, The Tribune-Review / June 21, 2019
Shutterstock/Lutsenko_Oleksandr

(TNS) — Pennsylvania’s auditor general is launching a review of the state’s instant background check system for firearm purchases.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is conducting the review at the request of a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, but not as the result of problems or complaints about how the system is operated.

The Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PICS, is used to determine if a person is eligible to buy a firearm or obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm.

“The purpose of my audit is to make sure the PICS system is working as intended and has kept up with changing technology,” DePasquale said in a news release. “I want to ensure there are no gaps in the system that could result in a tragic loss of life.”

DePasquale’s audit will:

  • Examine whether state police promptly, accurately and consistently issued decisions and processed challenges to denials in accordance with federal and state laws
  • Investigate whether all state and out-of-state criminal, civil, mental health and other necessary records are incorporated into the PICS and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
  • Evaluate the process used to identify and address firearm owners who have lost the right to own a firearm and whether the state police’s role in this process is operating effectively

During the first quarter of this year, state police conducted more than 266,000 instant background checks. Of that number, 3,260 people were denied.

©2019 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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