NSSF: ‘Charleston Loophole’ Gun Control Could Come Next Week

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The NSSF told Breitbart News the bill, the Enhanced Background Check Act of 2021, is sponsored by House Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and “could be on the floor as early as next week, bypassing House Judiciary altogether.”

The bill was previously introduced as the Enhanced Background Check Act of 2019. That bill was designed to “[revise] background check requirements applicable to proposed firearm transfers from a federal firearms licensee (e.g., a licensed gun dealer) to an unlicensed person.”

The goal of this aspect of the bill was to revamp the review period for National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks in the event that expanded review time is necessary. Currently, a three-day business extension can be made on NICS check, but the Enhanced Background Check Act would extend to “not fewer than 10 business days.”

The so-called “Charleston Loophole” has been used as the impetus for this bill. The Democrats began using that phrase after Dylan Roof purchased the gun he used in the June 17, 2015, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting.

Roof’s purchase was placed into the current three-day extended review, after which the firearm was handed to him because no criminal record was found. Democrats called this the “Charleston Loophole,” claiming the system is flawed and needs to be fixed.

But on July 10, 2015, Breitbart News reported the FBI’s suggestion that Roof got his gun because of an FBI reviewer’s “mistake” rather than a background system error. According to USA Today, Comey said Roof would not have passed the check if the background check team had seen Roof’s “felony drug charges.” However, the team made a “mistake.” That mistake was looking at the records of the wrong police department in searching Roof’s background.

But Clyburn is expected to push the gun control nonetheless.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence Keane commented on the anticipated gun control push:

If the bill is the same as what was introduced in the last Congress, we will be opposed to it now as we were then. This bill increases the burden on small business firearm retailer owners and flips the burden of proof on its head. This would make it incumbent upon the law-abiding citizen to prove his or her innocence to the government to exercise their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm instead of the government being responsible for proving an individual is prohibited. This could potentially deny a law-abiding citizen their rights for up to a month, while they are saddled with the burden of proving their innocence. That’s un-American.

Keane added, “Rather than placing further burdens on retailers and law-abiding gun owners, Congress should focus on adequately resourcing NICS. NSSF is the only organization that has successfully advocated for NICS to have the necessary resources to perform its mission in a timely manner.”