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Getting Rid of PICS

Looks like a bill might finally be introduced, but some have issues, needless to say:

But firearm foes say that the state database includes records that the federal database doesn’t, such as protection-from-abuse orders and 580,000 mental-health records that would prohibit gun ownership. They say that a mere federal check could allow violent or mentally ill people to buy guns, opening the door to such calamities as the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings or the 2011 attempt to kill former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Um, if they can go next door and buy a shotgun or rifle, shouldn’t it be a concern to gun control supporters that there are 580,000 mental health records that Pennsylvania is keeping to itself? It seems to me the solution here isn’t keeping PICS, it’s making sure those records end up in the federal system.

Further, PICS isn’t as inefficient as Krieger claims, Henry said. The state database was operational for 510,000 hours last year, yet experienced problems for just 69.9 hours, or 1.4 percent of the time, Henry said. He said that his bureau plans to add new technology that should erase such outages.

As an IT professional, I’d be utterly embarrassed at 69.9 hours of downtime a year. For a 24/7/365 operation, 99.97 is about what I’d consider to be the minimal target. It’s not hard to go beyond that either. The state is getting 99.20% uptime, if the 69.9 hours is correct, rather than the 1.4% number (which represents 122.6 hours a year, and would be totally unacceptable for that type of operation. 1.4% downtime and it’s time to fire the IT staff).

Of course, the real reason the powers that be will oppose trashing PICS and going with the federal system is because it’ll make it harder for the Pennsylvania State Police to maintain their registry of firearms that should be in violation of state law, but have gotten around by claiming in court that it’s a record of sale, which isn’t a registry. Unfortunately the courts have agreed with this. It’d be nice if the bill could fix the definition of “registry” in state law, so the courts don’t have a lot of weasel room.

UPDATE: A reader points out that PICS is not a 24/7 operation, and they are down outside of business hours. That means the 1.4% is correct, and that’s just pathetic. That’s fire the IT staff time.

10 Responses to “Getting Rid of PICS”

  1. David says:

    You also have to remember that pics is not really 24/7/365. You can’t do a pics check after 10pm. So they have a nightly 8h down window. So there is no reason that they’re going down during sales hours.

  2. Jake says:

    Um, if they can go next door and buy a shotgun or rifle, shouldn’t it be a concern to gun control supporters that there are 580,000 mental health records that Pennsylvania is keeping to itself?

    I’m surprised Andrew and Colin Goddard, at least, aren’t all over PA for that, considering that’s exactly the same issue that allowed the VT shooter to pass the NICS check twice. Not that I think it would have stopped him either way, but… It’s almost like they’re not really worried about public safety, or something.

    Be prepared for the anti’s to frame it as “eliminating the background check” (without really saying that). They pulled that stunt in VA, and that bill only shifted rifles and shotguns (but not pistols) over to the national check. They repeatedly lied by omission.

  3. Broken Andy says:

    To the anti-gunners, I’m sure unscheduled downtime is a feature not a bug.

  4. Patrick H says:

    it’ll make it harder for the Pennsylvania State Police to maintain their registry of firearms that should be in violation of state law

    Bingo. That’s all you need to know.

  5. Ed Stephan says:

    Considering who really runs and supplies the underling equipment their doing real good. Unisys is behind the [quote] upgraded equipment [/quote]. I know I testified against handgun registration database upgrade that cost us $340 million.

  6. alanstorm says:

    I am impressed that PICS was operational for 510,000 hours last year, since the average year only contains 8,760 hours.

    Government can do ANYTHING!

  7. David Glaser says:

    That’s fire the IT staff time.

    No, that’s fire the IT *management* time.

    • Broken Andy says:

      Actually, it should be fire the politicians time. I’ll bet you that by the time the budget $$$ get down to the IT staff, it’s not enough to adequately run the operation.

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