House passes bills expanding background checks for gun sales, closing ‘Charleston loophole’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on passage of gun violence prevention legislation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 11, 2021, as Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., looks on. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House on Thursday passed two bills that tighten gun sales regulations, sending the measures to a divided Senate.

H.R. 8 expands background checks on individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would close the “Charleston loophole,” a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed.

“This bill is a critical step toward preventing gun violence and saving lives,” Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., who sponsored H.R. 8, said ahead of its passage.

That bill, titled the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, passed 227-203. It received a handful of Republican votes — eight — and had one Democrat vote against. In 2019, the bill was passed with eight Republican votes, five of whom co-sponsored the package.

The Charleston Loophole:

The other bill passed Thursday, H.R. 1446, is linked to the 2015 shooting in Charleston, S.C, where a white supremacist shooter used the loophole to obtain firearms he used to kill nine Black people during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church. It extends the initial background check review period from three to 10 days.

USA Today

Source: USA Today