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Kaine Introduces With Colleagues “No Check, No Sale” Bill To Close Loophole Allowing Gun Sales Without A Completed Background Check

More than ten prohibited people a day are sold guns by dealers who do not wait for completed background check

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the funeral service for the victims of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined 23 of his Senate colleagues to introduce legislation to close a current loophole that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed after 72 hours, even if the gun buyer is not legally allowed to purchase 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 attack at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.  

“Virginia Tech, Charleston, and too many other tragedies have taught us the heartbreaking consequences that glitches in the background check system can have,” said Kaine. “It’s beyond comprehension that someone barred from owning a gun can purchase one simply because the background check isn’t completed in time. It’s time to end the Charleston loophole and ensure no check means no sale.”

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, 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 full text of the legislation is available here.

The Background Check Completion Act is led by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). In addition to Kaine, cosponsors include U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

The legislation has been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Newtown Action Alliance, and Brady: United Against Gun Violence.