Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    A poster on another forum brought to my attention an article (somewhat dated - year 2000) from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting that the State Police maintain a database of handgun purchases. The poster stated that he monitors PA legislative landscape and has not seen a change in this.

    http://old.post-gazette.com/regionst...00614guns2.asp

    [Excerpts] -

    State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a gun owner and member of the National Rifle Association, claims the Pennsylvania State Police are breaking the law by maintaining a database of everyone who has legally bought a handgun in the commonwealth since 1923.

    . . . .

    "It appears to us they, in fact, are not keeping the law they are charged to enforce," Metcalfe said in an interview this week. "They should destroy all their records to protect the personal privacy of our law-abiding gun owners."

    In a written response to Metcalfe meant to be hand-delivered yesterday, state police defended their practice and stated their intention to continue it. They denied Metcalfe's assertion that police are keeping a registry of gun owners, which is illegal in Pennsylvania.

    . . . .

    Pennsylvania law explicitly directs the state police to purge from their computers information used in the background check. They must destroy the form within three days of the check if the buyer's record is clean.

    The law states, in part: "An application/record of sale received by the Pennsylvania State Police pursuant to this subsection shall be destroyed within 72 hours of the completion of the criminal history, juvenile delinquency and mental health records background check."

    Another section of the law states: "Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership within this commonwealth."

    State police have a different interpretation of the Uniform Firearms Act, which dates to 1995. They acknowledge that the law tells them to destroy the records, and police said they do not store the information used for the background check.

    Police point out, however, that the law directs dealers to send them the record of sale.

    "As soon as we approve a gun sale, we destroy the information. The record of sale form is in a different section. It's always been kept," said Ronald Plesco, director of the state police's policy office at its Harrisburg headquarters.

    . . . .

    State police do not consider their warehousing of gun sale forms to be a registry. Plesco noted that police do not require people who move to Pennsylvania from out of state to register with authorities if they have a gun.

    "I consider this a record of sale database. I looked at what our chief counsel said, and they don't consider it a registry either," he said.

    [End Excerpts]

    Is this database still in operation?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Yes pistol sales db still exists and was ruled legal because it is incomplete since it does not contain records on all pistols, therefore not a registry https://lawcenter.giffords.org/regis...-pennsylvania/
    Last edited by rellisonii; December 30th, 2018 at 10:00 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Quote Originally Posted by rellisonii View Post
    Yes pistol sales db still exists and was ruled legal because it is incomplete since it does not contain records on all pistols, therefore not a registry https://lawcenter.giffords.org/regis...-pennsylvania/
    What do you mean by "all pistols" Still seems like a registry to me . Unless they destroy
    all records within 72hrs after the background check

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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Thank you for the timely update, Rellisonil.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    In my mind they keep the files in a warehouse that looks like this...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Ruled not a registry, but used like one by the police in some cases.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Quote Originally Posted by bogey1 View Post
    What do you mean by "all pistols" Still seems like a registry to me . Unless they destroy
    all records within 72hrs after the background check
    You mean like they're required to by state law? It's almost as though they don't care about the laws they're sworn to uphold.
    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.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Quote Originally Posted by bogey1 View Post
    What do you mean by "all pistols" Still seems like a registry to me . Unless they destroy
    all records within 72hrs after the background check
    I agree it is a registry, but politicians can and do make words mean whatever they want. I remember reading somewhere that pistols owned prior to moving to pa do not get registered and legal transfers between family members are not registered therefore the psp sales db is incomplete. So basically our registry is a partial registry so is legally not a registry per reasons....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Quote Originally Posted by jthrelf View Post
    Ruled not a registry, but used like one by the police in some cases.
    In some cases? I hear them run serial numbers on guns over the local police frequencies all the time and it sickens me. And they aren't just checking to see if it was reported stolen either.

    To add to this, they also notify the officers if they own firearms at the household they may be visiting as well.
    Last edited by Mr_Gixxer; December 30th, 2018 at 11:01 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: PA State Police Handgun Purchaser Database - Violation of PA Law?

    Quote Originally Posted by Univ of Saigon 68 View Post
    A poster on another forum brought to my attention an article (somewhat dated - year 2000) from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting that the State Police maintain a database of handgun purchases. The poster stated that he monitors PA legislative landscape and has not seen a change in this.

    http://old.post-gazette.com/regionst...00614guns2.asp

    [Excerpts] -

    State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a gun owner and member of the National Rifle Association, claims the Pennsylvania State Police are breaking the law by maintaining a database of everyone who has legally bought a handgun in the commonwealth since 1923.

    . . . .

    "It appears to us they, in fact, are not keeping the law they are charged to enforce," Metcalfe said in an interview this week. "They should destroy all their records to protect the personal privacy of our law-abiding gun owners."

    In a written response to Metcalfe meant to be hand-delivered yesterday, state police defended their practice and stated their intention to continue it. They denied Metcalfe's assertion that police are keeping a registry of gun owners, which is illegal in Pennsylvania.

    . . . .

    Pennsylvania law explicitly directs the state police to purge from their computers information used in the background check. They must destroy the form within three days of the check if the buyer's record is clean.

    The law states, in part: "An application/record of sale received by the Pennsylvania State Police pursuant to this subsection shall be destroyed within 72 hours of the completion of the criminal history, juvenile delinquency and mental health records background check."

    Another section of the law states: "Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership within this commonwealth."

    State police have a different interpretation of the Uniform Firearms Act, which dates to 1995. They acknowledge that the law tells them to destroy the records, and police said they do not store the information used for the background check.

    Police point out, however, that the law directs dealers to send them the record of sale.

    "As soon as we approve a gun sale, we destroy the information. The record of sale form is in a different section. It's always been kept," said Ronald Plesco, director of the state police's policy office at its Harrisburg headquarters.

    . . . .

    State police do not consider their warehousing of gun sale forms to be a registry. Plesco noted that police do not require people who move to Pennsylvania from out of state to register with authorities if they have a gun.

    "I consider this a record of sale database. I looked at what our chief counsel said, and they don't consider it a registry either," he said.

    [End Excerpts]

    Is this database still in operation?
    Yes it is. And yes, it is against the law.

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