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Delaware Moms Praise State Lawmakers for Advancing Legislation that Would Close Charleston Loophole

Bill Would Give Law Enforcement Time to Complete Background Checks and Prevent Dangerous People from Buying Guns

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded state legislators for advancing House Bill 325, legislation aimed at closing the “Charleston Loophole” that allows people to purchase guns despite incomplete background checks. HB 325 would give law enforcement officials more time to complete background checks on questionable buyers – rather than allowing sales to go forward after three business days even if a full background check isn’t complete.

STATEMENT FROM SUZANNE BATEMAN, VOLUNTEER WITH THE DELAWARE CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:

“While more than 90 percent of background checks are complete in less than two minutes, a small fraction of them require more time to review. HB 325 will make our families safer by giving law enforcement officers the time they need to fully complete background checks on potentially dangerous buyers. In the last five years, more than 15,000 gun sales were able to go through across the country because the FBI could not complete a background check within three business days. This bill is particularly important for Delaware women and families because we know that one third of those prohibited purchasers who went on to buy a gun without a complete background check were convicted domestic abusers. I urge Delaware legislators to pass this bill swiftly.”

HB 325, which now heads to the House floor, is aimed at closing the so-called “Charleston Loophole” – which allowed the man who killed nine people last summer at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., to purchase his murder weapon. The shooter’s arrest records flagged him for further review at the time of his attempted purchase, and the FBI would have denied the sale if it had more time to fully examine all of his records. Because federal law allowed the firearms dealer to sell the shooter a gun after three business days had elapsed, however, he was able to purchase the gun despite an incomplete background check. More information on the “Charleston Loophole” is available here.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


  • Under current law, background checks on gun sales must be completed within three business days.
  • In certain sales, however, the background check system is unable to immediately determine whether an individual is able to legally purchase a gun.
  • In those instances, the operator conducting the background check will inform a gun dealer that more time is needed to complete the full check.
  • Under current law, the sale may go through if law enforcement doesn’t complete the full check within three business days.
  • HB 325 seeks to close this loophole by giving law enforcement 30 days to complete a full background check.