WASHINGTON — Yesterday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. James Clyburn each led the reintroduction of legislation to close the “Charleston loophole.” The proposed bills would help close a loophole that allows licensed gun sellers to sell a gun if a federal background check is not completed within three days. The loophole allows some people who do not meet the requirements to purchase a gun.
This is commonly referred to as the “Charleston loophole,” after a man in Charleston, South Carolina who was not legally allowed to purchase a firearm was able to do so because the background check was not completed within three days. He went on to use that gun in a mass shooting in 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing nine people. These bills seek to address the growing gun violence epidemic by ensuring those who are not legally allowed to purchase a gun are prohibited from doing so. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 13 deaths and 130 injuries due to mass shootings in 2023, including the deaths at the Covenant School shooting earlier this week.
“Gun violence is on the rise, in part, because guns are falling into the wrong hands,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. “Closing a loophole that allows people to circumvent gun safety laws already on the books is just common sense. It’s a small step that could save countless lives.”
The legislation was previously introduced in the 2021-22 Congressional session, and was passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, but wasn’t voted on by the Senate. Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Clyburn are committed to building bipartisan support to move the bill forward.
“Gun violence prevention is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue and a moral imperative,” said Barden. “Lawmakers in Congress and across the country must implement and expand proven, common-sense reforms that can be immediately put to work to protect our children and communities.
“Every single time there is a mass shooting — at a school, church, grocery store, theater, mall, nightclub or parade — members of Congress are quick to offer their thoughts and prayers when what we really need from them is their leadership and votes to pass sensible gun safety policies like these bills to close the ‘Charleston loophole.’”
The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Loretta Kane | [email protected] | 917-410-7242