WASHINGTON – Ahead of the five-year anniversary of the funeral service for the victims of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined Senate colleagues in introducing legislation to close a current loophole that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed after 72 hours, even if the gun buyer is not legally allowed to purchase a gun. The gap in existing law has allowed thousands of gun sales to prohibited buyers, including the sale of the firearm used by the shooter in the deadly attack at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.
“If the background check is not complete, the sale should not be complete. The goal is to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t be able to buy them,” said Senator Cardin. “Let’s close this loophole before more lives are lost.”
When a criminal background check indicates that a firearm purchaser may have a criminal record, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tries to determine whether the purchaser can legally buy a gun. If this process takes longer than 72 hours, gun dealers can complete the sale even though there is a heightened risk that the purchaser is legally disqualified from purchasing a gun.
The Background Check Completion Act would require a completed background check for every gun buyer who purchases a gun from a federally-licensed gun dealer. The full text of the legislation may be found here.
This legislation is sponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
The legislation has been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Newtown Action Alliance, and Brady: United Against Gun Violence.