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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 McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress 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 CunninghamLobbying world We lost in November — we're proud we didn't take corporate PAC money Chamber of Commerce slams GOP effort to challenge Biden's win MORE (D-S.C.) said on the call that South Carolina Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump endorses Tim Scott for reelection This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Lobbying world MORE and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief FBI director faces lawmaker frustration over Capitol breach Juan Williams: Hypocrisy runs riot in GOP 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 TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE signed an executive order on police reform on Tuesday.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress 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.