Next week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has scheduled a possible vote on House Bill 921, sponsored by Speaker of the House, Mike Turzai (HD28-R). This important legislation would eliminate the current Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) as well as the current handgun record of sale and replace it with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Under the NICS system, licensed dealers contact the FBI, via a toll-free telephone number to run a check of computerized criminal history and mental health records at the point of sale for firearm purchases. Upon confirmation that the purchaser has no prohibiting criminal or mental health record, the purchaser may take possession of the firearm.
Since its inception in 1998, PICS has cost Pennsylvania tax payers nearly 120 million dollars to conduct background checks on gun purchasers in the Keystone State. By replacing the system with NICS, taxpayers in Pennsylvania would be relieved of a burdensome, duplicative process and would be able to take advantage of the more efficient federal system. Currently, thirty-five states solely utilize the NICS system for all firearm background checks.