Dems roll out bill to close gun sale 'loophole'

Senate Democrats rolled out legislation Wednesday aimed at blocking guns from being sold without a background check.

The proposal, from Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Ukraine sent letter to senators seeking specific Russia sanctions, military assistance Senators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate MORE (Conn.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinOvernight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs MORE (Calif.), would close a loophole that allows federally licensed gun retailers to sell a gun without a background check after 72 hours.

It is referred to as the Charleston loophole after the South Carolina city where Dylann Roof allegedly killed nine people in a mass shooting. The FBI said earlier this year that Roof was able to buy a gun after the three-day wait time for a background check expired.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats on Wednesday urged their colleagues to back the legislation, saying it is a simple and "straightforward" measure.

"The background check system is broken," Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats press cryptomining companies on energy consumption Ocasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision Over 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation MORE (D-Mass.) said. "A bill that is this straightforward is a test for the United States Senate. It asks the fundamental question, 'Who do you work for?' ... So long as we don't act, we make it clear that this Congress works for the NRA [National Rifle Association].'"

Blumenthal, separately, said that any "inconvenience" created by having to wait longer for a background check is outweighed by lives saved.

"Waiting for a background check, even if longer than 72 hours, is a minor inconvenience far outweighed by the benefit of keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people," he added. 

The legislation already has a handful of Democratic backers, including Warren. However, it likely faces an uphill battle in the Senate where Republicans have shown little interest in moving forward with gun control legislation, instead focusing on mental health bills.

Blumenthal's office first announced that he would unveil the bill earlier this month. 

Separately, dozen of Senate Democrats unveiled a sweeping gun control push earlier this month, with Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Schumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms MORE (D-N.Y.) suggesting they could try to introduce and move legislation later this year or early next year.