Legislation would end “Charleston Loophole.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria voted to pass the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 1446), which would close the “Charleston Loophole” that allows sales of firearms to proceed if a background check is not completed within three days.
“After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31, 2019, the issue of gun violence has become personal for all of us in Coastal Virginia,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. “Congress must enact policies that reduce preventable gun violence while protecting the constitutional right for law-abiding Americans to bear arms. This bill will help keep firearms from falling into the hands of those who may cause harm to themselves or others.”
In 2015, the “Charleston Loophole” allowed a gunman to obtain a weapon and murder nine people at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina while they participated in a Bible study. Had the FBI’s background check been completed, the gunman would have been barred from purchasing the firearm he used during the attack.
The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would extend the initial background check review period from three to ten days. If a background check is not finished after ten days, a purchaser may request an escalated review to spur the FBI to complete its investigation. This would ensure background checks for firearm purchases are completed prior to sales proceed while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun purchasers.