Background Checks

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A state agency says it mistakenly cleared 28 people to work with children without noting their past.

The state Department of Human Services says it should have included incidents of abuse or neglect to the reports for the 28 people who pursued clearances through the state's Childline.

DHS blames its IT system for mistakes in eight of the cases, but says employees failed to note incidents in the other 20 cases.

The agency says it's made changes, is providing re-training for employees, and has hired a consultant to provide an independent review.

Legislation that was intended to require more people who work with children to get criminal background checks might have actually created a loophole for doctors and other hospital personnel.

“Something just got lost” when the bill was crafted, said state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, an Allegheny County Republican.

The bill was one of 20 approved over the last three years to update the Child Protective Services Law in the wake of the child molestation scandal involving former Pennsylvania State University Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky.

In 2013, there were 1.1 million firearm-related background checks conducted in Pennsylvania.

Now, state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R- Washington/Greene) has introduced legislation that would eliminate that background check.

Currently, firearm customers need to register for the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and the National Instant Check System (NICS) before they can purchase a gun. If Bartolotta’s bill passes, Pennsylvania will join the 36 states that solely rely on the national system.

Bill Would End PA Background Check System For Guns

Mar 18, 2014

A proposal to dismantle the state background check system used to determine if someone is eligible to buy a gun or a gun license is set for a committee vote Tuesday.

The measure, referred to the House Judiciary Committee, would bypass and defund the state background check in favor of using the national background check system.

Supporters say it would reduce redundancy and free up state funding currently going to the state background check system, established in 1998.