Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is shutting down the state’s instant background check system for gun purchases between Sept. 2 and 6 for much-needed computer upgrades. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that means people won’t be able to buy guns for four days – four days that coincide with the start of hunting season, when doves and early Canada geese become fair game. One top Republican says it’s an effort by “liberals from Philadelphia” to do back-door gun control. “This is a slap in the face to the law-abiding citizens of the commonwealth who wish to purchase a gun during this time,” Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati said.
Sportsmen’s groups said that whoever picked Labor Day weekend for the shutdown clearly doesn’t understand hunting. Because that period is the start of hunting season, interest in buying shotguns spikes. Chuck Ardo, Rendell’s spokesman, said there was no conspiracy. The state’s instant background check system has to be shut down for database upgrades. Arrest and other criminal history records before 1981 will be added. A background check is required to buy a handgun, rifle or shotgun.