The criticisms of state Rep. Rick Saccone's column “Fix Pa. firearms background-check process” in the letter “Keep PICS” by Rob Conroy, CeaseFirePA's Western Pennsylvania regional director, reveal his organization's shortsightedness and continuing factual distortions as to how the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) functions and the advantages of the National Instant Check System (NICS).
Facts publicly aired in numerous state legislative hearings have established that both NICS & PICS check all databases except the PFA/domestic violence Pennsylvania database. State prohibitors also are uploaded into the national system and Pennsylvania has uploaded more records into NICS than any other state. These facts alone make PICS an expensive redundancy, at best, were it not also for the accompanying mistakes, errors and violations of civil liberties that occur daily.
Additionally, Mr. Conroy (whose quoted numbers are inaccurate) avoids concerns over erroneously arrested individuals as well as the troubling picture of individuals who 20 or 30 years ago were not considered firearms-prohibited but are today because of reinterpretations of old minor crimes. Conroy calls these individuals “fugitives,” yet many cases reveal questionable interpretations of prior crimes.
Further, it is important to note that CeaseFirePA is silent on PICS violations of law and of law-abiding citizens' individual liberties. As an example, nothing in Conroy's misleading diatribe addresses the fact that thousands of denials are reversed! The question he won't ask is why so many mistakes are being made! PICS has outlived its usefulness.
The writer is chairman of Firearms Owners Against Crime (foac-pac.org).