State Police Announce Quarterly Firearms Purchase Denial Investigations

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announced the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) conducted 337,911 background checks during the fourth quarter, which is an 11% increase from the previous quarter. In addition, 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.

Fourth Quarter PICS Statistics20202021
Total number of PICS checks conducted420,581337,911
     Number of persons denied7,4585,330
Total number of denials referred to law enforcement agencies1,3171,380
     Referred to Pennsylvania State Police352329
     Referred to Local Law Enforcement9321,015
     Referred to ATF3336
Number of individuals arrested for a warrant at point of purchase5213

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. 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.

Additional Information

First Quarter 2021 PICS Statistics
Second Quarter 2021 PICS Statistics
Third Quarter 2021 PICS Statistics
Pennsylvania Instant Check System Annual Reports

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Media Contacts

Adam Reed

State Police Media

Myles Snyder

State Police Media