House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) reintroduced legislation to give federal investigators more time to perform background checks and close the so-called Charleston loophole.
The loophole allows gun sales to proceed if a background check has not been completed in three days. This legislation would extend the review period to 10 days.
“A large majority of Americans, including gun owners, support universal background checks. This legislation is needed to keep weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them and save lives,” Clyburn said in a press release. The House is expected to vote on the legislation next week.
The shooter at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, a self-described white supremacist who killed nine Black parishioners, used the loophole to obtain his gun.
The loophole has put more than 75,000 guns into the hands of prohibited gun owners, according to Clyburn. The bill aims to protect law-abiding gun purchases with the stipulation that if the review is not completed within 10 days, the sale can proceed.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is expected to introduce the companion legislation in the Senate this week. The House bill has 60 co-sponsors.
The Democratic-led House last Congress passed the Enhanced Background Checks Act, aimed at closing the Charleston loophole, in February 2019. The bill was not taken up by the GOP-controlled Senate at the time.
Should the new legislation move to the Senate, Democrats would need all 50 party members in the upper chamber to rally around gun legislation as well as at least 10 Republican senators to overcome the legislative filibuster.
Democrats in the House and Senate reintroduced legislation to expand federal background checks on all gun sales on Tuesday.
Gun violence prevention groups hailed the current Congress as the best chance for both bills to pass, touting the Democratic-led House, Senate and White House.