[N.b Thanks to the following Chesco legislators who cosponsor or support HB 1010: PA House 74 Harry Lewis, 156 Dan Truitt, 157 Warren Kampf, 158 Chris Ross; PA Senate 9 Dominic Pileggi, 19 Andy Dinniman, 26 Thomas McGarrigle]
by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 12/14/15
A bill pending before the PA House of Representatives (HB 1010) and Senate (SB 1049) would require that purchasers of “long guns” from a seller who is not a dealer or manufacturer pass a background check before a registered dealer, importer, manufacturer or county sheriff’s office. (Transfers between certain family members are exempt.)
But we already have background checks, don’t we?
State code (Title 18, sect. 6111.f2) says that background checks in private sales (thus, from non-dealers at a gun show, over the internet, or on the street) are required only for
pistols or revolvers with a barrel length of less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches, any rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or any firearm with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
So a long gun purchase needs a background check if made from a licensed dealer (in a store, at a gun show, wherever), but not if from an unlicensed seller.
It’s hard to why this loophole exists if the General Assembly’s goal were to protect public safety. Someone planning a terrorist attack or wanting to kill an estranged spouse can go the “private” route and buy an armload of long guns in PA.
HB 1010 would end the exemption on background checks for private long gun sales. In return, as a convenience to people who feel they need to buy more than one gun at a go, it allows a single background check to count for the duration of a gun show, up to 48 hours….
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