A new bill introduced in Pennsylvania would establish a gun registry within the state.
HB0768 is known as the Firearms Registration Act. The Democrats that introduced the bill were Mary Louise Isaacson (D), Angel Cruz (D), and Mary Jo Daley (D). Last Friday, the General Assembly referred the bill to the committee on judiciary.
The bill would require gun owners in the Keystone State to register their firearms with the Pennsylvania State Police. Owners would have to provide the police with the make, model, and the serial numbers of all their guns.
Along with the application that the gun owner must swear to under oath, the gun owner would have to submit fingerprints, two photographs that are no older than 30 days and go through a background check for each firearm that they own. This background check is the same one that they must go through to purchase a gun.
In addition to this requirement, they must also provide the Pennsylvania State Police with their home and work address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, age, sex, and citizenship. This requirement is more information than a person needs to vote.
If the State Police rejects the person's application, then they will have ten days to appeal the decision. The owner must turn their firearms into the State Police within three days of receiving notification of the rejection. If a person does not appeal the decision within ten days, their right is forfeit.
A gun owner cannot transfer any unregistered firearm. Anyone caught with an unregistered gun is guilty of a crime even if they are unaware of the firearm registration status. Also just holding an unregistered firearm at a range is a crime.
The gun owner must keep all firearms unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock. If a firearms owner doesn't secure their firearm that way, they would be guilty of a crime. This rule even applies to homes with no children.
The gun owner has 48 hours to update the State Police if they change jobs, phone numbers, addresses, or anything else on the application. If they do not update the State Police, then they could be prosecuted for violating the law.
The certificate which will cost $10 per firearm will expire after one year. The gun owner would have to start the process over again to renew their certification. This process must be done 60 days before the certificate expires. The procedure can get confusing for gun owners with large collections.
The bill makes no mention of how the state will enforce the law.
Other states that have tried gun registration and bans have seen limited success. New Jersey has had zero magazines turned in since their magazine ban went into effect.
New York saw nearly one million firearms owners defy the state law to register their “assault weapons.” The same thing played out in Connecticut when only 50,000 out of 350,000 registered their semi-automatic rifles.
Expanding a registry to all firearms will be impossible to enforce without conducting door to door searches of houses. It is unclear how these Democrats plan to deal with this reality.
None of the bill’s sponsor responded to our request for comment.