Fear of law changes keep gun sales soaring in Pennsylvania

Fear of law changes keep gun sales soaring in Pennsylvania

Andrea Schry, right, fills out the buyer part of legal forms to buy a handgun as shop worker Missy Morosky fills out the vendors parts at Dukes Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa. last year. Interest in guns, as measured by backgrounds checks, continues to set records in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) AP For the third quarter in a row, the Pennsylvania State Police are reporting a new record in the point-of-sale background checks required before most gun sales, meaning that record interest in firearms sparked by the civil unrest after the George Floyd killing and a contentious election last year has just kept soaring into 2021. In the first quarter of 2021, the Pennsylvania Instant Check System completed 427,450 background checks. That’s up 40.2 percent from January through March 2020. State Police said previous records for PICS activity were 420,581 background checks, set from October through December of 2020; and 406,151 checks from July through September last year. Background checks don’t equate exactly to sales; some would-be buyers are barred from buying. But more importantly, state rules in Pennsylvania exempt private sales of long guns (including rifles, shotguns and semi-automatic military style rifles) from the requirement. Some national studies suggest more than 20 percent of all legal firearms sales occur outside the background check system. Still, they are considered a good barometer of the market, and that means, for now, things are running hot. The main cause for that may be the results of last year’s election, several […]

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