Skip to content

Kaine, Blumenthal, and Colleagues Introduce Bill to Close Loophole Allowing Gun Sales without a Completed Background Check

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and his colleagues in introducing the Background Check Completion Act, legislation to close a current loophole—known as the “Charleston loophole”—that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed within a certain time period, even if the gun buyer is not legally allowed to purchase a gun. This gap in existing law has allowed thousands of guns to be sold to prohibited buyers, including the firearm used by the shooter in the deadly attack at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. In 2019, more than eight prohibited people per day were sold guns by dealers who did not wait for a completed background check.

“The vast majority of Americans support strengthening background checks, and it’s unacceptable that individuals who should be prohibited from being sold guns can still buy them even if their background check takes longer than three days,” said Kaine. “This commonsense bill would close this dangerous loophole and help ensure that guns aren’t sold to those who haven’t passed a background check.”

When a criminal background check indicates that a firearm purchaser may have a criminal record, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (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 longer than 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.

In addition to Kaine and Blumenthal, the bill is also cosponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), 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), 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.