HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania State Police announced that the fourth quarter of 2020 was the busiest in the history of the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, breaking the previous record that was set in the third quarter of 2020.

The department also released the number of firearms purchase denials, subsequent investigations, and arrests resulting from such investigations for the period of Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.

Established in 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. In the fourth quarter of 2020, PICS completed 420,581 background checks. The highest total previously was 406,151, set in the third quarter of 2020.

“Our department is proud of PICS and the men and women behind the system who worked hard to meet record-setting demand throughout 2020,” said Captain Mark Shaver, assistant director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Records and Identification. “For the year, we saw a 47 percent increase in PICS requests from 2019, and the team stepped up to answer the call during a global pandemic.”

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