Proposed Legislation In Pennsylvania Would Create State Gun Registry

AP Photo/Marc Levy

A new gun control bill proposed to Pennsylvania’s House Judiciary Committee is calling for a thorough firearm registry.

The bill, HB768, introduced by Democratic State Rep. Angel Cruz of Philadelphia, would require potential and current gun owners to provide extensive background information and pay an additional fee before being allowed to purchase or possess a firearm.

According to NBC-affiliate WJAC-TV, the Firearms Registration Act would require gun owners to register each of their firearms with the Pennsylvania State Police. Gun owners would also be required to undergo a background check, be fingerprinted, and give other personal information such as home and businesses addresses and their social security numbers.

Ashley Honea of WJAC explains:

The bill states a person would have to obtain a registry certificate from the Pennsylvania State Police in order to possess, transfer, sell, give, or accept a firearm.

In order to do so, they must undergo a criminal background check and submit fingerprints along with their social security number, home and business address, telephone number, date of birth, age, sex and citizenship.

All of these requirements would be in addition to the state’s current laws to obtain a concealed carry permit and undergo the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PIC, which many lawmakers view as faulty.

Under current Pennsylvania law, when applying for a concealed carry permit, one must provide two references that are not family members, present a driver’s license or State ID, pay the $20 application fee, and then wait up to 45 days for approval. It costs an additional $20 to renew the concealed carry license (they last only five years).

But if an applicant pays the non-refundable fee and the PSP denies the application, “they would have ten days to appeal PSP’s decision or they must surrender the gun that was being registered,” Honea writes.

Failing to turn over the firearm to law enforcement would result in law enforcement charging the individual with a “summary offense,” which, according to Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, is “the most minor type of criminal offense in Pennsylvania, and is often called a ‘non-traffic citation.’” Summary offenses “can include disorderly conduct, loitering, harassment, and low-level retail theft, among others.”

The penalty for such an offense is typically a fine.