While AFIS is Down in PA, Gun Purchases Will Have to Wait

Prospective gun owners will not be able to go through the necessary criminal history checks in Pennsylvania next week while the state updates its AFIS fingerprint system.

You ever download an update to your computer, and then have to restart the machine? Yeah, it’s kinda like that, except that it will be state-wide and it’ll take down several other police systems with it. 

AFIS, or the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System, is that high-tech computer program you always see on dramatic cop shows. It searches through millions of images of fingerprints in the database to look for fingerprint matches. The original system is no longer on the market, so Pennsylvania is running it through an overhaul to bring it up to date. 

The whole system will be down between May 19 and May 22, which means that the Pennsylvania Instant Check System and the Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History databases, which rely on AFIS, will also be running at half speed. This will dramatically limit firearm purchases in the state so, to reference an earlier article, you’d better act fast and get your guns now.

And don’t think that this three-day window is a great time to commit crimes. A new PA law will require that felons caught carrying weapons will be subject to mandatory prison terms.

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