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State Police Announce Fourth Quarter Firearms Purchase Denial Investigations

by Pennsylvania State Police

Jan 14, 2023

The Pennsylvania State Police announced the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) conducted 321,664 background checks during the fourth quarter, which was the second highest quarter of the year. In addition, the state police released the number of firearms purchase denials, subsequent investigations, and arrests that resulted from investigations for the fourth quarter of 2022.

Established in July 1998, PICS is used by county sheriffs, chiefs of police of cities of the first class, and licensed firearms dealers in Pennsylvania to determine an individual’s legal ability to acquire a license to carry firearms or obtain a firearm through a purchase or transfer.

Throughout 2022, the state police firearms administrative section processed 916,709 total (521,737 handguns; 364,236 long guns; and 30,736 frames and receivers) firearms purchases and/or transfers facilitated by Federal Firearms Licensed dealers.

Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2021 are included for comparison.


Fourth Quarter PICS Statistics20212022
Total number of PICS checks conducted337,911321,664
     Number of persons denied5,3304,246
Total number of denials referred to law enforcement agencies1,3801,946
     Referred to Pennsylvania State Police329432
     Referred to Local Law Enforcement1,0151,356
     Referred to ATF36158
Number of individuals arrested for a warrant at point of purchase1334


In Pennsylvania, a person commits a felony of the third degree if they make a false oral or written statement on any federal or state agency form or if they willfully present false identification that is likely to deceive a firearm seller, licensed dealer, or licensed manufacturer. When an individual provides false information on a state and/or federal form, an investigation is initiated, and an investigation referral is sent to the corresponding law enforcement agency. In addition, during the background check process, individuals may be identified as having an active warrant for their arrest.

Since its inception, PICS is responsible for facilitating the apprehension of 3,109 fugitives, 91 occurring in 2022.

Additional Information:

First Quarter 2022 PICS Statistics

Second Quarter 2022 PICS Statistics

Third Quarter 2022 PICS Statistics

Pennsylvania Instant Check System Annual Reports

For more information on PICS and carrying firearms in Pennsylvania, visit

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