Firearms Records

The Firearms Division maintains records on firearms licensing and transfers. The Division operates the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS), used by firearms dealers to verify who can legally buy a firearm. 


PICS began on July 1, 1998. It provides instant access to background records on a person. The Instant Check Unit is a call center conducting background check requests.

This duty requires:

  • Ensuring accurate ID of the subject of the background check
  • Assessment and research of federal, state and local records
  • Broad documentation
  • Maintaining positive contact with Firearm Dealers and Sheriffs

Submit a PICS Challenge

The PICS background check program issues approvals or denials. For a denied or undetermined result, the dealer will inform the applicant of their right to challenge. 

Challengers should provide additional information for the review. Information regarding dispositions on old arrest records and related information may be helpful to your challenge.

  1. Download and complete the PICS Challenge form.
  2. Sign and date the form.
  3. Within 30 days of the date of denial, mail the completed and signed form to:

    PICS Challenge Section
    1800 Elmerton Avenue
    Harrisburg PA 17110

PSP will respond in writing within five business days of receipt of a valid challenge form.

Within 60 days of receipt of a valid challenge, a final decision will be provided to the challenger.