Proposed legislation calls for a firearms registry in Pennsylvania


    State lawmakers are proposing new legislation that would create the Firearms Registration Act, which would force gun owners to turn over thorough personal in. (WHP)

    State lawmakers are proposing new legislation that would create the Firearms Registration Act, which would force gun owners to turn over thorough personal information to State Police.

    Not only would each of their firearms need to be registered, but Commonwealth citizens would have to re-up that registration annually -- paying a non-refundable fee to PSP each time.

    “I think the act as it is proposed is quite dangerous,” says Alan Bernardi, a firearms instructor for the Harrisburg Hunters and Anglers Sports Club for nearly a decade.

    Bernardi says the newly proposed House Bill 768 violates both the state and federal constitutions.

    “It leads to total gun confiscation,” says Bernardi. “In my opinion, it serves no good purpose. It accomplishes absolutely nothing.”

    The bill states a person would have to obtain a registry certificate from the Pennsylvania State Police in order to possess, transfer, sell, give, or accept a firearm.

    In order to do so, they must undergo a criminal background check and submit fingerprints along with their social security number, home and business address, telephone number, date of birth, age, sex and citizenship.

    All of these requirements would be in addition to the state’s current laws to obtain a concealed carry permit and undergo the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PIC, which many lawmakers view as faulty.

    There is one thing within HB 768 Bernardi agrees with: “People with mental health issues or people with a violent history shouldn’t own a firearm.”

    The bill also prevents PSP from issuing a registration certificate to anyone convicted of a violent crime, or the possession of sale of narcotics in the five years prior to the application submission.

    We reached out to PSP, who says they’re ‘tracking the legislation’ but can’t comment at this stage of the proposal.

    The bill excludes antiques, collectors items, and duty weapons, and would require people to pay $10 per firearm each year to register.

    However, if an applicant is denied their registration, they would have ten days to appeal PSP’s decision or they must surrender the gun that was being registered.

    The bill states that violations of these mandates would result in a ‘summary offense.'

    Still, Bernardi says the bill is meaningless.

    “How does it make you feel safer? Because you know who has a gun?,” says Bernardi. “That doesn’t mean anything because the criminal, the violent person, isn’t going to comply with the law anyways.”

    The bill’s prime sponsor, Representative Angel Cruz of Philadelphia (D), was not available for comment.

    HB768 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it awaits a vote.

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