WASHINGTON – Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn yesterday introduced the Background Check Completion Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Under current law, the Charleston shooter should have been barred from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. But a procedural loophole allowed him to get around the law to buy the gun that he used to murder nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17. The Background Check Completion Act closes this loophole so that criminals forbidden by law from buying guns are not able to buy guns.
“The Background Check Completion Act will guarantee that no gun is sold by a licensed dealer until a background check is completed,” Clyburn said. “Tragically, the Charleston shooter was allowed to purchase a gun even though the FBI had not completed his background check. This should never be acceptable. My bill is a commonsense fix to our nation’s gun laws, and I call on my colleagues in Congress to move it immediately towards passage.”
Many retailers, including Walmart, have already voluntarily agreed to make this practice standard, to only allow gun sales to customers who have been approved through completed background checks. This bill will mandate that practice.
The Background Check Completion Act does not replace the need for the King-Thompson Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, H.R. 1217. King-Thompson would improve and streamline reporting to the FBI so that mistakes happen far less often. It would also require background checks at gun shows and for online sales, closing other loopholes to ensure that all gun purchasers undergo required background checks.