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New gun registry bill in PA would create database of owners’ SSNs, fingerprints, more

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announces on June 16, 2011, a statewide sweep that collected more than 1,200 firearms were seized from individuals legally barred from possessing them. (Office of the Attorney General of California/Released)
March 15, 2019

Pennsylvania residents could be required to register their firearms under a new bill introduced in the state legislature last week.

Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced, HB768, also known as the Firearms Registration Act, which would establish a state gun registry, according to the bill’s text.

Gun owners in the state would have to register their firearms with the Pennsylvania State Police and include the make, model, and the serial numbers of all their guns. They would also need to submit fingerprints, a background check, a declaration under oath, and two recent photographs within the preceding 30 days, according to the bill’s text.

Gun owners would also need to supply the state police with their home and work address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, age, sex, and citizenship. State Police must be notified with 48 hours if an individual changes jobs, phone numbers, or addresses.

The bill was introduced by Democrats Mary Louise Isaacson, Angel Cruz, and Mary Jo Daley and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee. If it becomes law, the new rules would go into effect in 180 days.

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In the event the application is denied, the individual would have 10 days to file an appeal but would have three days to surrender their weapons to the State Police while the appeal is pending. If an individual does not file an appeal within 10 days, they forfeit the right to do so.

In addition, no gun owner can transfer an unregistered gun under any conditions. Anyone who does so will be breaking the law and faces charges. All firearms must be stored unloaded and taken apart, even in homes where there aren’t any minors.

The certificate would be good for one year and would have a $10 fee assessed to it per gun. After the expiration, the gun owner would need to repeat the process and that needs to take place 60 days prior to the certificate expiring.

The problem with the bill is that it has several components that would have to be accomplished in order to make the law successful. However, Democrats have not revealed a plan for enforcement, or described how elements of the bill would be verifiable.

Other states that have gun registries have not been successful in enforcing it. On Dec. 5, 2018, New Jersey passed a bill to ban gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. To date, not one magazine has been surrendered, according to Reason.com.

The results have been very similar in New York and Connecticut.

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