Monday, May 7th, 2012

BELLEVUE, WA – A complete shutdown of the Pennsylvania Instant Check System by the state police for a period of 60 hours later this month for a system upgrade is “inexcusable,” the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

“Closing down the background check system, and thus suspending all firearms transactions and concealed carry license processing simply allows the Pennsylvania State Police to obstruct the gun rights of law-abiding citizens,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. “We are not reassured by a promise from the agency that it will expedite this computer system update in order to restore service as soon as possible. Access to the computers for background checks should not be suspended at all.

“Surely,” he continued, “the State Police can find alternate means of processing firearms transactions and permit applications while the upgrade is in progress.”

The system is scheduled for update from 10 p.m. Saturday, May 19 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 22. Gottlieb said this highlights a problem with such systems when there is no backup. Authorities can literally suspend the Second Amendment by turning off a switch or pulling a plug, he observed, and use whatever excuse they want.

“We live in an age when computer upgrades should be accomplished considerably faster,” Gottlieb said. “Locking down such a vital system that is important to so many Pennsylvania residents for 60 hours is not an ‘inconvenience,’ it’s an outrage.”

Keystone State gun owners will hold their 7th annual Second Amendment Liberty rally tomorrow, May 8 on the main steps in the capitol rotunda. This would be a grand opportunity for firearms owners to contact their state legislators, and the governor’s office, to express their dissatisfaction over the PICS problem, he suggested.

“Since the last time this happened in 2007, Pennsylvania gun owners have been pushing for an end to the PICS system,” Gottlieb noted. “It is time to put the State Police out of the background check business, and turn over this important job to the NICS system operated by the FBI. They do their upgrades faster, and they deal with the entire country.”