New Castle News

January 5, 2013

Gun pre-sale checks at record numbers

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The FBI fielded a record number of gun transfer permits in December.

According to a recent CBS News report, the FBI received 2.8 million pre-gun sale background check requests last month, a 39 percent increase from the previous month when about 2 million requests were received.

Since 1993, when the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed, anyone who purchases a firearm must submit to a background check to determine if he or she is eligible to legally purchase and possess a firearm.

Licensed gun dealers must clear each potential gun buyer through the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The process takes about 10 minutes. Only about 1 percent of applicants are denied.

The website, also notes that few applicants are rejected because “convicted criminals know better than to apply.”

 According to the website, the background check system was developed to save lives and protect citizens  by not allowing guns and explosives to fall into the wrong hands.

According to, if a firearm transfer applicant is denied, “it is because the applicant or someone with a similar name or descriptive features has been convicted of a felony, is a fugitive from justice, an illegal drug user or addict, had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, is an illegal alien, was dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, renounced U.S. citizenship, was subject of a restraining order for threatening a family member or convicted of domestic violence.”

The system also may deny a transfer based on state laws that prohibit possession of a specific type of firearm.

Pennsylvania law prohibits selling, trading or delivering any handgun, other than an antique firearm, unless the new owner has a locking device that prevents the firearm from being operated by anyone not having access. If the recipient is less than age 18, he or she must be   supervised by a responsible adult of age 21 or older.

No one may knowingly or intentionally transfer firearm ownership to anyone who is prohibited from possession.

No license is required to possess rifles, shotguns or handguns in one’s home or place of business unless they have convictions that prohibit ownership.