In Pennsylvania, if you want to purchase a firearm, you have to pass two background checks. There’s the broader National Instant Criminal Background Check System and then there’s the more restrictive Pennsylvania Instant Criminal Background Check System. It seems tedious, doesn’t it? One system is provided by the federal government and the other system is created by the state of Pennsylvania because state’s have the rights to pass gun control measures that are more restrictive or definitive than the federal government.
So guess which background check system Senator Camera Bartolotta would like to get rid of?
That would be Pennsylvania’s more restrictive background check system. In a press release, Bartolotta states:
“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.” “The money we’re spending on PICS could be put to a better use than supporting an expensive and duplicitous 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.
Is the Pennsylvania system that much of a burden for gun owners in Pennsylvania? For the past couple of years Republicans have been trying to get rid of the Pennsylvania system because of this is an attack on one’s constitutional right to bear arms. This time last year, Kim Stolfer from Firearms Owners Against Crime wrote an oped for the Patriot News that stated:
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tim Krieger is the solution to these inequities. This change will save Pennsylvania taxpayers millions of dollars. Making this change to the NICS system will also create a safer Pennsylvania and nation by consolidating records and firearm background checks into one system.
The NICS system maintains a more effective and more reliable system that also has a better record of fairness and accuracy when citizens challenge denials because of incorrect information.
This sort of misinformation coming from the freshman senator sounds just like the misinformation coming from gun rights groups.
What’s the difference between the national and state background check systems? The national background check system only has nine prohibitions while the state background check system is more defined and has more protections.
Barring jail-time, who are the theoretically winners if Senator Bartolotta’s bill were to make it to the governor’s desk? Winners would include: women beaters, paramilitarists, kidnappers, straw purchasers or those who file false reports over stolen firearms, witness intimidators, gang members and much more.