Pa. State Police complete a record number of instant background checks for gun sales in last quarter

Written by on October 12, 2020

Pa. State Police complete a record number of instant background checks for gun sales in last quarter 

By Julia Agos, WITF

October 12, 2020

A portion of the rack displaying various models of semi-automatic sporting rifles is seen at Duke’s Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa. on Thursday, March 1, 2018. AP Photo / Keith Srakocic

State police have completed a record number of instant background checks for gun purchases in the last quarter.

WITF’s Julia Agos reports it comes as homicides spike in Philadelphia and firearms and ammunition sales skyrocket across Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Instant Check System – or PICS – is used to determine if a person is eligible to buy a firearm or obtain a license to carry.

More than 406,000 checks were completed in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 – the highest on record.

That’s compared to 225,000 over the same time period in 2019.

State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski says the uptick began in March when the coronavirus pandemic began and continued through the summer as protests and civil unrest grew around the county.

“Firearms dealers have reported selling out of many guns and have had trouble keeping ammunition in stock,” said Tarkowski.

The Philadelphia Police Department has reported a 40% increase in gun-related homicides over last year’s highest-in-more-than-a-decade tally.

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