Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #71
    Join Date
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    (Cumberland County)
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    Default Re: Critically important note about PICS and NICS

    Quote Originally Posted by GunLawyer001 View Post
    ...Making mistakes on the 4473 is a victimless crime. Our govt should concentrate on preventing actual victims, not on herding the sheep along arbitrary pathways.
    Seems to me that much like credit bureaus, there should be an option to do a 'soft' pull on PICS and/or NICS. A 'would I qualify if I tried?' type inquiry that returns a "yes" or the reason why not, without the implication of getting busted for 'lying' on a 4473... Heck, I'd even settle for a simple "yes" or "no" and then you have to go find out why if no.

    You'd still have to ink the form to buy a gun, with full penalties for lying (and at that point, more likely ill-intent/deserved).

    It would sure make life easier for FFL's, customers, etc. and avoid the unfortunate situation of folks 'trying it' to find out (as we see here all too often).

    It seems to me there's some level of 'right to know' by the individual too, without risking a criminal offense to find out. I know you can request your 'record' from PSP, but even getting that and seeing an offense doesn't help the average Joe know if many of the most common offenses are disqualifying (as we're asked here all too often).

    It's something folks might even want to check with no intention to buy a gun, just for identity protection. True story: there is someone who lives in the area with my exact (rather unusual) name & spelling. Probably some distant cousin, but I don't know. Might even be a woman who married into the family (the name is pretty gender-neutral, like Sam or Chris). Having said that, I've TWICE been called into the local district magistrate's office to account for my unpaid tickets, and had to point out that it's a different middle initial and SSN they're looking for. It's conceivable one day I could get turned down for PICS based on something they do erroneously entered for me... I'd sooner know that BEFORE I get turned down and PSP comes calling...

    Not to mention letting LEOs get on with pursuing the real baddies versus folks who are asked to fill out a form with possible criminal implications and no real understanding of what's being asked.

    Downsides???

    Only one I can really think of is alluded to above: It would be easier for folks who -are- trying to skirt the law to determine that something's been "missed" and they can slide under the wire. Seems a bit of an outlier to me.
    "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Ben Franklin.

  2. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Bucks, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Critically important note about PICS and NICS

    Quote Originally Posted by KCJones View Post
    Seems to me that much like credit bureaus, there should be an option to do a 'soft' pull on PICS and/or NICS. A 'would I qualify if I tried?' type inquiry that returns a "yes" or the reason why not, without the implication of getting busted for 'lying' on a 4473... Heck, I'd even settle for a simple "yes" or "no" and then you have to go find out why if no.

    You'd still have to ink the form to buy a gun, with full penalties for lying (and at that point, more likely ill-intent/deserved).

    It would sure make life easier for FFL's, customers, etc. and avoid the unfortunate situation of folks 'trying it' to find out (as we see here all too often).

    It seems to me there's some level of 'right to know' by the individual too, without risking a criminal offense to find out. I know you can request your 'record' from PSP, but even getting that and seeing an offense doesn't help the average Joe know if many of the most common offenses are disqualifying (as we're asked here all too often).

    It's something folks might even want to check with no intention to buy a gun, just for identity protection. True story: there is someone who lives in the area with my exact (rather unusual) name & spelling. Probably some distant cousin, but I don't know. Might even be a woman who married into the family (the name is pretty gender-neutral, like Sam or Chris). Having said that, I've TWICE been called into the local district magistrate's office to account for my unpaid tickets, and had to point out that it's a different middle initial and SSN they're looking for. It's conceivable one day I could get turned down for PICS based on something they do erroneously entered for me... I'd sooner know that BEFORE I get turned down and PSP comes calling...

    Not to mention letting LEOs get on with pursuing the real baddies versus folks who are asked to fill out a form with possible criminal implications and no real understanding of what's being asked.

    Downsides???

    Only one I can really think of is alluded to above: It would be easier for folks who -are- trying to skirt the law to determine that something's been "missed" and they can slide under the wire. Seems a bit of an outlier to me.
    I basically agree with you. The real bad guys who we want to keep separate from weapons, already know that they spent 3 years in prison or were caught dealing drugs or were kicked out of the army for rape. I don't know how big a problem it really is that felons and maniacs would pass PICS because of system errors, but I'd bet money that it's a tiny problem compared to people who were convicted of crimes and spent zero days in jail, but the statute allowed for 5 years; or people whose parents had them examined as teens and are literally unaware that they were 302'ed.

    The only thing that makes sense is that PICS (and NICS) is designed as a trap for the unwary. It's difficult for the layman to know where his criminal records can be found, it's impossible to find 15 year old medical records that have been shredded. Our situation is this: Let's say in 1990 Barry O. is committed to a hospital as a result of a bad drug experience. The hospital sends a 302 form to the PSP. That creates a permanent disability for Barry. But Barry is not represented by counsel, he isn't given any paperwork (or he loses it during the ordeal). The PSP now knows that Barry is prohibited, but Barry does not.

    Time passes. By 1997 or 2000, the hospital shreds Barry's records, per their retention policy. The PSP still has their form.

    In 2018, Barry goes to buy a gun. He doesn't remember being adjudicated mentally ill, because nobody told him that. He didn't have any Cuckoo's Nest experience, no straight jacket, no mute Indians, he just spent a weekend in a hospital 28 years ago while doctors told him reassuring things, and then he went home.

    Let's say he wanted to be proactive; he calls the PSP but they can't legally tell him anything. He calls the hospital and they check their system and there's no reference to him there at all.

    The first direct evidence he has that he was committed is when the PSP (or local cops) call him to tell him why he was denied by PICS, and they're deciding whether to prosecute him.

    Barry should have hired someone like me BEFORE he filled out the form. He sure as hell needs someone like me now, because the reason the LEO is calling him is to trick him into further implicating himself to make a conviction easier. The govt takes the position that every person knows in detail whether they were committed (vs "mom put me in the hospital once when she didn't know what to do", which I've heard many times), and that every person knows the details of the statute under which they were convicted.

    Bear in mind, defense lawyers and prosecutors and judges have frequently (and erroneously) told defendants that their gun rights would not be impacted by a guilty plea. I don't recall ANY hospital telling an incoming patient that they would be losing their gun rights, EVER. But you can and will be criminally prosecuted if YOU get it wrong.

    It's not right. It's not justice.
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Thanks to all who attended my Firearms Law Workshops this year!

  3. #73
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    (Philadelphia County)
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    Default Re: Critically important note about PICS and NICS

    Quote Originally Posted by GunLawyer001 View Post
    ..... I don't recall ANY hospital telling an incoming patient that they would be losing their gun rights, EVER. But you can and will be criminally prosecuted if YOU get it wrong.

    It's not right. It's not justice.
    As usual, you make many great points. Regarding the above sentence, every 302 I have dealt with, the main concern at the moment was the crisis that the person was experiencing. The hospital and the family were usually concerned that the person wouldn’t harm themselves and would be treated and live on. Future gun rights were not a priority at the moment.

    Without successfull treatment at present, there would be no future justice or future anything.

  4. #74
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Bucks, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Critically important note about PICS and NICS

    Quote Originally Posted by Carson View Post
    As usual, you make many great points. Regarding the above sentence, every 302 I have dealt with, the main concern at the moment was the crisis that the person was experiencing. The hospital and the family were usually concerned that the person wouldn’t harm themselves and would be treated and live on. Future gun rights were not a priority at the moment.

    Without successfull treatment at present, there would be no future justice or future anything.
    I agree, and I don't necessarily condemn the 1st responders or the hospital; I'm just saying the patient is given no basis for understanding that he has to change his answer on one question on one form sometime in the future, when he knows he's not one of those "felons and the mentally ill" that our elected officials keep telling everyone the background check is stopping.
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Thanks to all who attended my Firearms Law Workshops this year!

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