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Firearms Records

The Firearms Division maintains records on firearms licensing and transfers. 

The Division operates the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS). PICS is used by firearms dealers to verify who can legally buy a firearm. 

PICS began on July 1, 1998. It provides instant access to background records on a person. The Instant Check Unit is a call center conducting the background check requests.

This duty requires:

  • Ensuring accurate ID of the subject of the background check
  • Assessment and research of federal, state and local records
  • Broad documentation
  • Maintaining positive contact with Firearm Dealers and Sheriffs

Submit a PICS Challenge

The PICS background check program issues approvals or denials.

For a denied or undetermined result, the dealer will inform the applicant of their right to challenge. Applicants may submit a PICS Challenge Form SP4-197.

The challenge form must be submitted to the PICS Challenge Unit within 30 days of the denial. Only those applicants denied or undetermined by PICS personnel may submit a challenge form.

PICS will return any incomplete or outdated challenge form. This may delay processing. Submit all four pages. Parts I, II, and III on page one must be complete. Challengers should sign and date page four.

PSP will respond in writing within 5 business days of receipt of a valid challenge form. Challengers are encouraged to provide additional information for the purpose of review. Information regarding dispositions on old arrest records, etc. may be helpful in the challenge process. Within 60 days of receipt of a valid challenge, a final decision will be provided to the challenger.