Challenges and Appeals to Pennsylvania's Instant Check System

Sometimes, applications to buy firearms or get concealed carry licenses are denied. If this happens to you, contact the Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorneys at Logue Law Group immediately. The experienced attorneys there can counsel you about the criminal consequences of your denial. They can also look at your record and your criminal history and decide whether the PICS (Pennsylvania Instant Check System) system made a mistake.

The Pennsylvania Instant Check System was implemented in 1998 as a method of obtaining instant background checks on people attempting to buy firearms. It is also used when people try to get a concealed carry license. PICS has a call center, called the Instant Check Unit, that is responsible for conducting the checks that have been requested. In order to carry out this task, the unit requires good communication with Sheriffs and dealers of firearms, research and evaluation of local, state, and federal records, the certainty that the subject of each background check is accurately identified, and complete and accurate documentation.

PICS gives an instant approval or denial of eligibility to purchase firearms and licenses, and replaces the previous system, which mandated a waiting period of five days. While the majority of applicants—60 percent—are approved, the remainder are not. Sometimes, applicants are denied in error. Once your application is denied, you only have 30 days to challenge the Pennsylvania Instant Check System decision. Sean Logue and his team of trained and dedicated criminal defense attorneys can work within that time frame to figure out the reason for your denial. If PICS made a mistake, they can help you file a PICS challenge and pursue it. There are challenge forms online at this link. The form is SP4-197 and can be found near the bottom of the page. The paperwork must be filed at the State Police PICS Firearms Unit on Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg.

Below is a list of more common mistakes that have been successfully challenged:

  • Someone else’s record is pulled, who has a similar name to yours or the same name.
  • Your prior offense is listed on your record as a conviction when it was disposed of in some other manner.
  • Your prior offense was a summary offense but was listed as something worse on the record.
  • The Pennsylvania State Police incorrectly decide your out of state offense is equal to, or substantially so, an offense in Pennsylvania that would disqualify you from purchasing a firearm or a concealed carry license.

If you challenge a Pennsylvania Instant Check System ruling and that challenge is ruled against you (ruled invalid), you have 30 days to appeal it. You must file an appeal with the Pennsylvania Attorney General. The Attorney General must then conduct a new hearing. Sean Logue and his team of experienced defense attorneys can help you bring your claim before the Attorney General.

If you have been denied the right to purchase a firearm, don’t wait to call an attorney. You only have so many days to file your PICS challenge and prepare your case. You need to have a lawyer with experience in handling these kinds of cases at your side. An attorney familiar with Pennsylvania’s firearms laws will be able to identify mistakes made by the PICS system and help you get your rights restored to you. Remember that a denial can come because of a mistake you made on your form; a good defense attorney can get that corrected and keep your record from getting any more bad marks.

Have you or someone you know been denied the right to purchase a firearm? Do you want to appeal this denial? If so, you need a criminal defense attorney experienced and knowledgeable in firearms law and PICS challenges to assist you. The Logue Criminal Defense team has helped many of people challenge PICS denials. Logue Law Group serves Pittsburgh, PA, as well as West Virginia and Ohio. Call today for a consultation: (412) 612-2210 or (412) 612-2210. Or, you may contact us online.