March 30, 2023

Wyden Cosponsors Bill Closing “Charleston Loophole” on Gun Sales

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said today he is co-sponsoring legislation that would close a loophole letting gun sales proceed if a background check is not completed within a certain time period, even if the gun buyer is not legally allowed to buy a gun.

The gap in existing law has allowed thousands of gun sales to prohibited buyers, including the sale of the firearm used by the shooter in the deadly 2015 attack at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.

“This common-sense solution would help to save lives put at risk when bureaucratic delays let criminals crawl through legal loopholes to get a gun the law says they’ve forfeited the right to have,” Wyden said. “It’s long past time to end that loophole and put public safety first.”

When a criminal background check indicates that a firearm purchaser may have a criminal record, the FBI tries to determine whether the purchaser can legally buy a gun. If this process takes longer than 72 hours for those 21 years of age or older, or 10 days for those under 21, gun dealers can complete the sale even though there is a heightened risk that the purchaser is legally disqualified from purchasing a gun.

The Background Check Completion Act would require a completed background check for every gun buyer who purchases a gun from a federally-licensed gun dealer.

The Background Check Completion Act is led by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). In addition to Wyden, other co-sponsors are U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).

The legislation has been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Brady, Sandy Hook Promise and Newtown Action Alliance.

U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.