Recently, House Bill 1400, legislation which would expand background checks to include all private sales and transfers, was introduced in the Keystone state. Sponsored by state Representative James Santora (R-163), HB 1400 would require an individual to seek a licensed firearm dealer to conduct a criminal background check prior to purchasing or transferring a firearm to another individual, including purchases at gun shows. Additionally, an individual would have to obtain 72-hour background check approval if the individual wanted to make more than one purchase without having to pay for multiple background checks.
It is currently illegal to knowingly sell a firearm to an individual who is a prohibited possessor. Likewise, it is a felony for a prohibited person to buy, own or possess a firearm. However, criminals by their very nature circumvent the laws. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, 77% of inmates surveyed1 acquired their guns through theft, the black market, from drug dealers, straw purchase or family and friends. HB 1400 is merely legislation in search of a problem, as criminals will not subject themselves to gun control schemes or background checks. This is an ineffective and unenforceable piece of legislation that will only impact law-abiding citizens rather than addressing the true problems associated with the criminal misuse of firearms: lack of enforcement of current law.
By criminalizing otherwise lawful transfers, this bill could unknowingly turn a law-abiding person into a criminal. For example, simply loaning a firearm to a friend could turn a law-abiding gun owner into a criminal overnight.