When the laws are enforced, the system works.

In 2019, background checks have yielded warrant information that led to the arrest of 154 individuals who were trying to purchase a gun or guns legally. It is unknown what the intentions of these people were. Since 1998 when PICS was established, 2,591 fugitives have been arrested.

Current State Laws:

• Requires background checks be performed prior to the sale or transfer of firearms by a licensed dealer. The Pennsylvania State Police background check includes criminal history/juvenile delinquency/mental health (18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6111, 6111.1).

• Requires background investigations by a sheriff for individuals applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon; applicants must be at least 21 years of age (18 Pa.C.S. § 6109).

• Includes Act 79 of 2018 to strengthen the Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act and convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence that require relinquishment of firearms within 24 hours.

• Requires that firearms be carried with a license that must be produced to a law enforcement officer upon demand (18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6106, 6122).

• Prohibits the false submission of evidence of identity in connection with firearms (18 Pa.C.S. § 6116). 

• Requires dealers apply for and obtain a license to sell firearms, and dealers maintain records of firearms sales (18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6112, 6113).

• Mandates child safety locks must be included with all firearms provided by a manufacturer or dealer (18 Pa.C.S. § 6142).

• Prohibits private sales or transfers of firearms except at the location of a licensed firearm dealer or sheriff’s office (18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(c)).

• Prohibits loaning, lending or giving firearms to other individuals, subject to certain specific exemptions (18 Pa.C.S. § 6115). 

• Gives judges flexibility to impose greater penalties for felons who illegally possess firearms (Act 134 of 2016).

• Prohibits the possession of certain offensive weapons, including machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and firearms adapted for concealment or silent firing (18 Pa.C.S. § 908).

• Prohibits the possession of firearms by persons convicted of certain violent, drug or alcohol crimes, as well as by fugitives, mentally incompetent persons and those subject to protection from abuse orders (18 Pa.C.S. § 6105). 

• Prohibits persons under age 18 from possessing or transporting firearms absent adult supervision and prohibits the sale or lease of deadly weapons, cartridges or gunpowder to a minor (18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6110.1, 6302).

• Prohibits the possession of firearms on school property (18 Pa.C.S. § 912).

• Directs local law enforcement to trace firearms found in the possession of prohibited individuals (18 Pa.C.S. § 6127).

• Prohibits the alteration of firearm serial numbers or marks of identification (18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6110.2, 6117). 

• Requires the Pennsylvania State Police to distribute firearms safety literature to all firearms dealers (18 Pa.C.S. § 6125).

• Increases the grading for theft by receiving a stolen a firearm (Act 10 of 2011).