Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    This is what happens when people don't go out and vote. Just posted in the Bucks County Courier Times:


    Newly elected Bucks County Sheriff Milt Warrell wants more deputies to conduct field investigations of residents applying for a license to carry firearms.

    Bucks County needs more personnel to fill the cracks in the gun permit background check process, the new county sheriff said Tuesday. Milt Warrell plans to request from the county salary board and commissioners additional staff to perform field investigations of applicants seeking a license to carry firearms.

    “We have a simple background check system at the county offices in Doylestown, Levittown and Quakertown,” Warrell said. “What we don’t have is the manpower to find issues that we would not be privy to in Doylestown.”

    Pennsylvania is an open carry state, which means any eligible citizen can purchase a firearm after successfully passing a background check, and can keep a loaded gun on their body or in the car if they also obtain a license to carry firearms. The carry permit is processed through the county sheriff’s office, which conducts another background check investigation.

    The permit applications can be filled out at the sheriff’s office in Doylestown or at satellite county offices in Levittown and Quakertown. Background checks performed in Doylestown usually take less than a day, Warrell said, while the satellite applications take a few days to be sent to Doylestown, processed and returned with a license if the applicant passes.

    When someone fills out the form, the sheriff’s office takes the paperwork, fingerprints, a photo and driver’s license of the applicant and uses the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to find any red flags that would instantly prohibit someone from getting the permit. Managed by the Pennsylvania State Police, PICS combs through public records to reveal prior convictions of nearly 40 different offenses, including violent crimes, domestic abuse, arson and robbery. The system also flags anybody who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, also known as getting 302′ed.

    “The PIC system is basically a yes or no answer,” said Cpl. Adam Reed, public information officer for the Pennsylvania State Police. “It’s all web-based and usually takes about a half hour. The sheriff puts the information into the system, and it comes back either approved or not approved. If there are any discrepancies, such as convictions in another state, an operator is assigned to further research the application.”

    Warrell said Tuesday that he needs the extra manpower for what happens after someone passes the initial background check. There could be reasons why someone should not have a license to carry that would not show up on the PICS. They would be discovered only by speaking to local law enforcement or interviewing the people listed as references on the application.

    “If the applicant was arrested the week before by the township police,” Warrell said, “the record may not be in the PIC system when the background check is done.”

    The background check also would not reveal any history of drug or alcohol abuse if the applicant has never been arrested on DUI or possession charges. State law gives the sheriff 45 days to investigate the application, and the sheriff has the discretion to deny or revoke the application based on the findings. One of the questions on the application reads, “is your character and reputation such that you would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety?” That question leaves the sheriff plenty of leeway to block the permit, Reed said.

    Warrell said that field investigations rarely were performed by his predecessor, longtime Sheriff Edward “Duke” Donnelly. Donnelly could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

    Warrell’s proposal would add three additional uniformed deputy sheriffs and six per diem support staff to carry out field investigations after someone receives the license to carry. The deputies would be full-time employees, with the additional staff coming to help when applications start picking up. Warrell said Tuesday he did not have the final amount he would need budgeted to cover the expense and that he is still “crunching the numbers.”

    He wants to add the personnel as soon as possible, which requires approval for the new positions by the county salary board and a vote by the county commissioners to add the expense to the 2018 budget. Commissioner Diane Marseglia already has signaled her support of the measure with a statement sent to reporters Tuesday that invoked last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and Wednesday’s school walk-outs.

    “Taxpayers have every right to expect that their dollars are utilized first, and foremost, to protect their personal and familial security,” said Marseglia in her statement. “Bucks County Commissioners have, within our purview, the ability to provide this safety without extending restrictions to weapons. It is critical that we immediately provide the sheriff with extended funding, beyond the approved 2018 budget, to adequately operate this aspect of his department and our obligation to resident safety.”

    Commissioner Chair Charles Martin said Wednesday afternoon that he has not received any information from Warrell on the proposed staff increases and has seen only Marseglia’s statement. Martin indicated he would not be supportive of adding the extra cost to the county budget and said the sheriff is “attempting to capitalize on the unfortunate tragedy that happened a month ago.”

    “Most people when they get elected to office try to save money and be more efficient,” Martin said. “That doesn’t seem to be the motive that the sheriff is following. Commissioner Marseglia’s statement cites the kids leaving school for 17 minutes, but that doesn’t make the proposal justifiable. It’s a non sequitor.”

    Commissioner Rob Loughery did not return a message left with his office. County Controller Neale Dougherty, who serves on the salary board with the commissioners, said he had first heard about Warrell’s proposal Tuesday and did not yet have a formal request from the sheriff’s department. Dougherty reserved his opinion on the idea until he sees the entire plan with budget estimates and weighs them against any requests from other departments.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    If PA were to go Constitutional Carry, the good sheriff would probably see a reduction in permit applications, just sayin...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    When someone fills out the form, the sheriff’s office takes the paperwork, fingerprints, a photo and driver’s license of the applicant and uses the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to find any red flags that would instantly prohibit someone from getting the permit.
    Fingerprints?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    So, the Sherriff has decided that the State Police System is inadequate? I smell empire building.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Statkowski View Post
    Fingerprints?
    Yep,that's part of the process.
    There are no pacts between lions and men.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    this is why we don't elect cum-guzzling posers, people.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Krichardson View Post
    Yep,that's part of the process.
    I don't recall there being a space on the single page form for fingerprints.
    Rules are written in the stone,
    Break the rules and you get no bones,
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    Quote Originally Posted by streaker69 View Post
    I don't recall there being a space on the single page form for fingerprints.
    There isn't but they press them onto a separate card.Is this not done in the other counties?
    There are no pacts between lions and men.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Krichardson View Post
    There isn't but they press them onto a separate card.Is this not done in the other counties?
    I don't actually remember there being fingerprints for the original application....that was also about an eon and a half ago.
    There is no greater sorrow than to recall in misery the time when we were happy - Dante.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bucks sheriff wants more personnel for gun permit background checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Krichardson View Post
    There isn't but they press them onto a separate card.Is this not done in the other counties?
    Nope, and if they were to start it here in Lancaster, I'd seriously have second thoughts about renewing. Why should I have to submit fingerprints? What purpose does it serve other than to have your printed listed in the FBI database with criminals?

    If I walk in with my state issued ID, shouldn't that be good enough to identify me, if not, then there is something seriously wrong with the state's system of identifying people. Since I've had my LTCF for the past 15 years or so, there isn't any need to fingerprint me because nothing else about me has changed.
    Rules are written in the stone,
    Break the rules and you get no bones,
    all you get is ridicule, laughter,
    and a trip to the house of pain.

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