Clyburn: 'May be possible' to close the Charleston loophole in a police reform bill

Clyburn: 'May be possible' to close the Charleston loophole in a police reform bill
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Tuesday proposed closing the so-called Charleston loophole in a police reform bill.

Previously, the congressman authored H.R. 1112, or the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which would would give federal investigators more time to perform background checks. It passed the House on Feb. 28, 2019, and the Senate has not yet held a vote on it.

On a press call with Everytown for Gun Safety to mark the five-year anniversary of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., Clyburn appeared optimistic that such a measure could be included in police reform legislation following the death of George Floyd.

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“I do believe that it may be possible in this climate to get H.R. 1112 included in a deal that comes out of this current justice and policing legislation,” Clyburn said on the call with Everytown and its grassroots network Moms Demand Action. 

“The fact of the matter is, all of our prayers have fallen on deaf ears. What we have to do now is create a climate in this country that makes [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP scrambles to fend off Kobach in Kansas primary Meadows: Election will be held on November third Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency MORE [R-Ky.] susceptible to crawling out of his graveyard,” he added. “Now, even if we were to pass the Senate, I do not believe the president would sign it.”

On June 17, 2015, a self-avowed white supremacist gunman, who is on federal death row, killed nine black parishioners at the church.

Sharon Risher, whose mother, two cousins and childhood friend were killed in the shooting, also joined the call, along with John Feinblatt, president of Everytown.

“I really feel that this event five years ago led to us seeking and getting this legislation through the House. ... It started what I call a period of reassessment,” Clyburn said.

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Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamMultiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert Hoyer: Maskless Republicans a public health threat Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-S.C.) said on the call that South Carolina Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottLobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus bill Revered civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis lies in state in the Capitol GOP plan would boost deduction for business meals MORE and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamNavarro: 'Don't fall for' message from TikTok lobbyists, 'puppet CEO' Graham defends Trump on TikTok, backs Microsoft purchase The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - At loggerheads, Congress, White House to let jobless payout lapse MORE, both Republicans, should also be held accountable for their lack of action after the Charleston shooting.

Scott, the only black Republican senator, is leading efforts among his GOP colleagues in the Senate to craft legislation addressing police brutality to be unveiled this week. House Democrats announced a sweeping reform bill last week. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE signed an executive order on police reform on Tuesday.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate' White House not optimistic on near-term stimulus deal Sunday shows - Stimulus debate dominates MORE called for this measure, as well as the House passed Bipartisan Background Checks Act, to be voted on in the Senate on Friday to mark the four-year anniversary of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.