PA Gun Dealers Fuming Over System Shutdown

A planned 5-day shutdown of Pennsylvania’s instant checking system for firearms purchases in early September has firearms dealers and other major retailers boiling mad.

Earlier this month, state police notified licensed gun dealers of their intent to perform necessary computer upgrades to the checking system, which would require shutting it down from 6 p.m. Sept. 2 to noon Sept. 6.

The dates, which happen to include the Labor Day holiday, also coincide with the opening days of Pennsylvania’s dove hunting season.Dove

While the state police argue that the shutdown is little more than a necessary inconvenience, some legislative leaders and retailers say the timing just stinks.

For example, the Allentown Morning Call reports today that Harrisburg mega-store Bass Pro Shops’ largest sale of the year--the Fall Hunting Classic—is scheduled for Sept. 1-9. Its sales flier includes dozens of gun-related specials, including one for Sept. 6 only offering an $850 pistol for $499.

“(The system shutdown) is not stopping anyone from purchasing a gun, it’s that they’re going to wait a few extra days to get that gun,” said state police spokeswoman Trooper Linette Quinn. “It’s not that we’re trying to hurt anybody’s sales or anything--it’s an update to the system. It’s only going to make it better.”

But leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus are countering that gun dealers did not get enough advance notice about the system maintenance and they’re asking Gov. Ed Rendell to step in and do something to remedy the situation.

“Implementing this shutdown at the beginning of hunting seems ill-advised, and belies a lack of communication and consultation with sportsmen groups and businesses, the very people this shutdown will impact,” wrote Reps. Marc Gergely, (D) Allegheny, and Keith Gillespie, (R) York.

Here at the News Hound, we’re advising sportsmen in the Keystone State to keep an eye on this one. We have a feeling that it’s not over yet—especially when you consider that lots of dollars (consumer and tax) and mega-retailers are involved.