A Pennsylvania state senator says one background check process is enough and the current process is wasteful and redundant.
State Senator Camera Bartolotta (R) is introducing a bill that would eliminate the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) from the process of purchasing a firearm in Pennsylvania. All individuals must pass a background check conducted by the National Instant Check System (NICS) that is administered by the FBI. Bartolotta’s proposal would eliminate PICS and use only NICS for the required background checks.
Proponents of this bill say that the Pennsylvania system is merely a catalyst for the national system. They say that the state system is a waste of money because the state pays for the national system anyway. Supporters also say this two-prong system depends on both the state and national databases operating properly at the same time, sometimes causing unnecessary delays.
Those who are against the bill cite inefficiency in managing the national system, a lack of updated information and a failure to include mental health information. These opponents say that having an individual checked twice provides an extra measure of reliability and safety.
Currently, 29 states rely solely on the national system for checks. Other states vary slightly. Some states have their own, exclusive database for instant background checks and do not rely on the national system. Other states do not require an instant check for persons who currently hold a valid concealed handgun or firearms permit. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states that maintains a full point of contact system for all firearms background checks.
The only neighboring state to Pennsylvania that also has a full point of contact system is New Jersey. Even New York uses the National Instant Check System for all firearms checks.