HARRISBURG, Pa. — State Police conducted almost 338,000 background checks for handgun purchases in the fourth quarter of 2021, an decrease of 11% from the same period in 2020, according to statistics released this week.
In fourth quarter 2021, State Police conducted 337,911 background checks. Over the same time period in 2020, a total of 420,581 background checks were conducted, the statistics say.
Background checks are conducted with the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, State Police said.
A total of 1,380 handgun purchases were denied after background checks in the PICS, State Police said. Over the same period in 2020, a total of 1,317 purchases were denied, according to State Police.
PSP released the number of firearms purchase denials, subsequent investigations, and arrests that resulted from investigations for the fourth quarter of 2021.
Established in 1998, PICS is used by county sheriffs, chiefs of police of cities of the first class, and licensed firearms dealers in Pennsylvania to determine an individual’s legal ability to acquire a license to carry firearms or obtain a firearm through a purchase or transfer.
Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2020 are included for comparison.
In Pennsylvania, a person commits a felony of the third degree if they make a false oral or written statement on any federal or state agency form or if they willfully present false identification that is likely to deceive a firearm seller, licensed dealer, or licensed manufacturer, according to State Police.
When an individual provides false information on a state and/or federal form, an investigation is initiated, and an investigation referral is sent to the corresponding law enforcement agency. In addition, during the background check process, individuals may be identified as having an active warrant for their arrest.