Lancaster Online has a pretty good article on whether or not the Virginia Tech Killer could have gotten his guns if he had been a resident of Pennsylvania. The answer, they say, is no. They do get a few things wrong. For one, you can’t buy a gun on the internet without an FFL. And they are, probably not intentionally, misrepresenting a few statistics at the end.
I’m going to point this out, because this isn’t the first paper I’ve seen make this mistake. They are using the Pennsylvania State Police 2005 Firearms Report. This is accurate to use for gun sales, but it does not show the number of people licensed to carry a firearm in any specific county, it only shows the number of people run through PICS that year for a concealed carry license application. Lancaster Online mistakenly reports the number of people with concealed carry licenses in the county as 3989 people. The true number would be approximately five times this amount, since our licenses renew every five years.Â One year won’t give you a very good number, because a lot of people got them as soon as the law changed, so some years will be slower than others. To get a true number, you’d have to contact the County Sheriff, and most won’t tell you how many they issue.
Statewide, the last number I heard was 600,000, or thereabouts. According to the 2005 State Police Report, they processed 101,000 background checks through PICS for license applications. I’d say 600,000 is probably about right, but you’d really have to see the numbers over a five year period to know for sure.