Meadville Tribune

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April 29, 2013

Dems push for background checks on all gun sales in Pa.


HARRISBURG — Finnerty reports from Harrisburg for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.’s Pennsylvania newspapers, including The Meadville Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @cnhipa.

The National Rifle Association has given $58,042 in campaign donations to 58 of the 203 members of the state House and Senate, according to, a website that tracks political action committee spending.

Of the 50 members in the state Senate, 19 have taken contributions from the NRA, including 16 Republicans.

Of the $29,217 in donations accepted from the NRA by senators, Republican Bob Robbins, whose constituency includes Crawford County, has taken $7,000 — the highest of the Pennsylvania senators. The next closest is Joe Scarnati, who has accepted $5,275.

Of the 153 members of the House of Representatives, 39 have taken campaign contributions from the NRA, including 28 Republicans.

Of the $28,825 in donations accepted by the NRA, Republican Michele Brooks, whose constituency includes Crawford County, has taken $800. Fourteen House members have accepted more than Brooks, led by Ron Marsico’s $3,500 and Robert Godshall’s $3,460.

Every handgun sale in Pennsylvania must be preceded by a criminal background check, including private sales and sales at gun shows.

All sales of firearms conducted by licensed dealers are preceded by a criminal background check.

Private sale of long guns, including sales at gun shows and public auctions, do not require a background check.

Pennsylvania House Bill 1010 and the legislation under debate in the Senate would close the gun show loophole if it passes.

What do they check for?

The background check process involves accessing both state and federal databases to determine an individual’s eligibility to acquire a firearm or license to carry a firearm.

State databases search:

-Pennsylvania Criminal History Records

-Juvenile Records (contained within the criminal history record file)

- Mental Health File (containing involuntary commitment information and adjudication of incompetence)

-Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse (PFA) File

-Pennsylvania Wanted/Missing Persons File. As an agency organizational segment within a Point-of-Contact State, PICS conducts the check of the federal databases through NICS.

Federal databases search:

-Interstate Identification Index (III), containing criminal history records submitted by states throughout the country, federal and military records

-National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which includes civil protection orders and arrest warrants

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