PA State Police Suspension of Second Amendment for PICS Upgrade Inexcusable

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PA State Police Suspension of Second Amendment for PICS Upgrade Inexcusable

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 an 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.”

About Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States. The Citizens Committee can be reached by phone at (425) 454-4911, on the Internet at

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First: Phone, power and internet are run by private corporations. They are government regulated but not government operated. Second: Since when do governments and states ever employ a proper robust computing architecture? Third: phone, power, water, internet, are all distributed systems where if one part goes down, traffic is routed through other portals (hence why if power loss is significant it will end up cascading in the attempt to get power to people via other routes. The databases for background checks are not distributed. They might have back-ups and fail overs in the same building, but what about when that… Read more »


This is also inexcusable at the IT level. There is no reason for them to not have highly available systems. Users should not notice that the upgrade is in process. I do this work all the time and the methodology is commonly known. Several state officials and contractors need to lose their jobs for incompetence.

Bukkiah Golden

This is an outrage. Have you ever heard of a telephone network upgrade? They exist, but you don't here about it usually because they happen at night, upgrade without affecting service (redundant systems) and rarely have an issue because people are keenly aware and careful. This is my profession, I know it well. There is absolutely no excuse for this, other then it is not considered an essential service. The state doesn't think your second amendment reference (God given) rights are "essential" so there is no protection. You can bet the state would be on top of a utility (phone/power/water)… Read more »