Warren introduces bill to require near-universal background checks in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Sept. 5 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, today announced he has introduced H.B. 2621, which would expand background check requirements in Pennsylvania by eliminating all exceptions to the requirement except for family transfers.

Currently, the Crimes Code requires background checks for the sale of all handguns, or sales conducted by a federally licensed dealer. Background checks are not required for the private sale of “long guns.”

“I’ve introduced this legislation to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the residents of the commonwealth by preventing unauthorized people from purchasing firearms,” Warren said. “As a representative and vice-chairman of the House PA SAFE Caucus I have always been – and will continue to be – an advocate for legislative initiatives that respect the Second Amendment while promoting gun safety.”

House Bill 2621 contains language from H.B. 1010, introduced in the previous session, including the elimination of most background check exemptions or the “gun-show loophole” and would require that all firearm sales, regardless of the barrel length, be conducted in front of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff.

Private sales currently exempted from background checks include “any shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches, any rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or any firearm with an overall length of less than 26 inches.” This exemption includes military-style rifles, like AR-15s, which have been used in some of our country’s deadliest mass shootings.

“It’s past time for the state legislature to not only hold hearings on this long overdue legislation, but also to take action to protect our citizens. I encourage my colleagues to join me in making sure that we don’t find ourselves having to introduce this important bill yet again next session,” Warren said.