In the past three months, Pennsylvania residents have tried to buy 97 firearms every hour. Additionally, the number of requests this quarter through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) is up 26 percent from last year. Since PICS was established in 1998, the number of background checks has incrementally increased from 200,000 at it inception to over a million by 2013. That was mostly due to the post-Sandy Hook talk about gun control (via Penn Live):
Every hour during the months of January, February and March, more than 97 people attempted to buy or transfer ownership of a gun in Pennsylvania. And those are just the legal transactions.
According to the state police firearms report, 213,054 background checks for individuals hoping to obtain a firearm were conducted in the first three months of this year, up from 180,938 for the same time period last year. Another 96,417 background checks were done for those seeking concealed carry permits, up from 64,640 in the first quarter of 2015.
And 1,873 background checks were performed on individuals who sought to have returned guns that were held as police evidence. That is up from 675 checks done in the first three months of 2015.
Major Scott Price, director of the state police's Bureau of Records and Identification, said overall, the number of Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) checks conducted in the first quarter of this year are up 26 percent over the same time period last year.
When Pennsylvania first established the PICS system in 1998, the state police averaged 200,000 background checks a year. State police records show that jumped to more than 1.1 million in 2013 and 893,054 in 2014. The data for 2015 isn't available at this time, Price said.
This is good news - more Pennsylvania residents are exercising their Second Amendment rights. Yet, the state is probably one of the few bastions of pro-gun sentiment in the Northeastern parts of the country other than Vermont. It’s a hunting state dotted with State Game Lands, with over half of the National Rifle Association’s membership living within a four-hour drive of Pittsburgh. I would hope Second Amendment sentiments would be strong and it appears to be healthier than ever.