Would a volunteer gun registry in PA work?

March 9 — Gun laws are always a hot-button topic, but the latest one in Pennsylvania sounds a bit…confusing. 

PA Senator John Kane has introduced legislation for the firearm registry. 

The bill, called the Do Not Sell Firearm Registry, would allow people to voluntarily put themselves into the InstaCheck system so they cannot purchase a gun. 

They would provide the information to Pennsylvania State Police or their county sheriffs. Various other identification would also have to be provided. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Basically if you submit your name to that, you would be prohibited from purchasing a firearm. The presumed purpose here would be that if you think you are about to harm yourself or other people, might this be a way to peel some of those people out of the system and prevent them from buying a gun.” 

Your name can be removed at any time, but you have to wait 21 days after you’ve already submitted your name to remove it. 

Barkdoll said, “I have no idea where this goes. This is not Red Flag law. This is not gun control. I don’t know what members of the general assembly will think about this.” 

Could this get abused? Could mental health professionals pressure people into putting themselves on the registry? 

Barkdoll said, “But if it’s easy then to just remove your name within 21 days, I don’t know. Maybe you see some Republicans and Democrats saying hey let’s give this a try. It’ll be interesting to watch.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “I’m very skeptical because I feel like the pressure points will grow. I feel like people will be coerced into putting their name on this thing. Okay we can take it off, but will there be any residual indicators for that person? It allows for an avenue of coercion that I’m afraid the unintended, perhaps negative consequence feels like it’s likely.” 

Barkdoll said, “I could also envision an argument that this should almost be like a freedom of choice thing, that if I’m having a situation and I want to be on a registry to not be able to get a gun, I should be allowed to do that, but how do you build in the safe guards to make sure someone’s not forcing or coercing me to do that in an inappropriate way? It’s a difficult issue.”