Governor Wolf announces new gun laws now in effect, Pennsylvania poised to end gun violence

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that new federal legislation aimed at combating ghost guns and keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals goes into effect today. Federally licensed firearms dealers who sell or distribute partially finished frames or receivers (PCFRs) in Pennsylvania that help someone build a firearm at home are now required to conduct a background check before selling or transferring those parts, which is completed by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).

“Across the country and right here in Pennsylvania, gun deaths are at an all-time high,” Gov. Wolf said. “We can prevent this tragedy by keeping guns to people who can’t pass a background check. Today, thanks to the Biden administration, we can do that — if you can’t pass a background check to buy a fully assembled gun, you can’t buy PCFRs to build your own gun at home. . . . This is long overdue, and this We are ready to implement legislation in Pennsylvania immediately.

The final rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives goes into effect today. The final rule implements several changes, including changes to the definition of “frame or receiver.” In addition, changes in the final rule require federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks on purchases and transfers before selling or transferring PCFRs. Pursuant to its role as the state and federal point of contact for merchants to conduct required federal background checks, PSP will conduct the newly required background checks for merchants.

Ghost guns have been identified as the fastest growing security threat to the United States. In recognition of this, the PSP began officially tracking the seizure and recovery of ghost guns from crime scenes in 2021. Philadelphia began tracking these same numbers in 2019. Philadelphia had 95 fumbles in 2019 and fumble recoveries in 2019, 250, and a staggering 571 in 2019.

Governor Wolf has worked throughout his administration to combat gun violence in Pennsylvania and even address incidents involving dead guns.

“My office has been sounding the alarm for years about ghost guns and how they are becoming a tool for criminals. In the year “In 2019, we tried to implement background checks for these invisible firearms with a legal recommendation from our office, but we were quickly blocked by arguments from gun lobbies,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “For years, convicted felons, violent drug dealers, they’ve all been able to buy these guns at gun shows without background checks. With these new federal laws taking effect today and being implemented across our commonwealth, we are keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and making it easier for law enforcement to track down crime guns in their investigations. All of this helps make Pennsylvania communities safer.

Efforts to curb gun violence in Pennsylvania include:

  • In the year In 2019, Governor Wolf signed an executive order making sweeping changes to gun violence in Pennsylvania, including creating a Special Council on Gun Violence.
  • It has invested more than $50 million in community gun prevention programs across the Commonwealth.
  • In December 2021, he vetoed Senate Bill 565, a dangerous bill that would have eliminated licensing and background check requirements for concealed carry permits and repealed Philadelphia’s requirement for an open carry permit.
  • In January of this year, he vetoed House Bill 979, which would have discouraged local officials from trying to regulate firearms.
  • In his last budget, Gov. Wolf committed $160 million to violence prevention in Pennsylvania communities.

For more information and a complete summary of the new rules, visit

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