There’s been talk among pro-gun voices in Pennsylvania about eliminating PICS, the state point-of-contact background check system. It looks like there’s an active effort in Colorado to do just that. It’s being touted as a cost saving measure, because the state would save approximately 1.7 million dollars by relying on the federal system. In this time of tight state budgets, the money argument is probably the winner. The only difficulty we have here in PA is that our PICS system is being used for a number of different reasons, including conducting background checks for teachers. That complicates the issue a bit more for using the cost saving argument, at least here in Pennsylvania.
The main reason for doing this here in PA, is that the state system has more downtime than the federal system, and when the system is down all gun sales are halted, and we revert to the Brady waiting period. Since very few dealers are willing to do default proceeds after the waiting period, this essentially halts all gun sales for the duration of the outage. The other reason is that it would interfere greatly with the State Police using PICS to keep a registry of all guns sold in the Commonwealth. The legislature intended to prevent this eventually, but the State Police found a legal argument around it. If you’ve bought a gun in the past decade, they know about it. We’ve had individuals have guns seized from them in traffic stops because local policeÂ erroneouslyÂ believe the State Police database is a comprehensive registry. This has been difficult to remedy legislatively.