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Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - How a Little-known Loophole Allowed the Charleston Shooter To Get a Gun

February 23, 2016

More people need to know about this.

A 21 year old walked into a gun store in West Columbia, South Carolina, to purchase a .45-caliber handgun.

After three business days, the gun was his—legally purchased, despite an arrest record that should have prohibited him from ever owning a deadly weapon.

Two months after that, he used that gun to kill nine Americans in a church in downtown Charleston.

To understand the paradox of how someone technically prohibited from buying a gun could legally buy one, we have to go back to 1993.

That was the year Congress passed the Brady Bill, a law that requires every gun store to run a background check with the FBI before someone can purchase a gun.

It's worked—and it's blocked more than 2.4 million prohibited gun purchases.

But there's a catch.

When the Brady Bill was being debated, the NRA and its allies in Congress managed to squeeze in a loophole:


Senator Bernie Sanders, then in the U.S. House of Representatives, voted for an amendment to to create this loophole—even though he voted against the final Brady Bill.

Without the Charleston loophole in our gun laws, the FBI would have had more time to complete a background check from that South Carolina gun store, and the Charleston shooter wouldn't have been able to buy his gun.

The Charleston shooter isn't the only person who's gotten a gun through this loophole.

More than 90 percent of the time, the results of a criminal background check come back on the spot. But one time in 10, the FBI sees something they want to investigate further. And if that investigation takes more than three business days, the sale can proceed—regardless of a person's criminal record.

That's really bad news:


Sometimes a few words in a gun bill can be a matter of life and death. It's time to close this dangerous and deadly loophole—before the next Charleston takes place.

Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - How a Little-known Loophole Allowed the Charleston Shooter To Get a Gun Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317274

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