The House of Representatives on Thursday passed H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Check Act of 2019. On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019. The bills have been talked about together and pushed by gun control advocates.
Anti-gunners in the House have said H.R. 1112 would close the so-called "Charleston Loophole." They've coined the term because the Charleston shooter was able to purchase the firearm after the National Instant Criminal Background Check System failed to make a determination in the three day period. After the three days, Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are allowed to legally sell the firearm to the purchaser.
If the bill becomes the law, these are the steps a buyer would have to take:
1) Fill out a 4473 to undergo a NICS check.
2) FFL comes back and tells the buyer he or she has to wait 10 days to get the results back from the feds.
3) If the feds fail to get the check back in 10 days the buyer can file a petition to proceed with the transfer.
4) The FFL would have to wait an additional 10 days after the petition is filed in order to proceed with the transfer.
The bill passed with a vote of 228 to 198.
Gun Control groups were quick to applaud the decision:
BREAKING GUN SENSE VICTORY: The U.S. House of Reps just passed #HR1112, legislation that would address the Charleston loophole (the loophole that allows licensed dealers to sell a gun after three business days even if a background check has not been completed)! #EndGunViolence— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) February 28, 2019
This deadly loophole enabled the hate-filled man who carried out the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston to obtain a gun. Passing this legislation is important for public safety and honors the victims and survivors of the Charleston church shooting. #HR1112— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) February 28, 2019
HR 1112 just passed! Thank you for making calls to Congress!— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 28, 2019
Passing this #HR1112 to address the deadly Charleston loophole is important for public safety, and it honors the victims and survivors of the Charleston church shooting with action. pic.twitter.com/MYlfe2ML6D
THEY DID IT!!! The bill to address the Charleston loophole, HR 1112, just passed the US House! Thank you to @RepCunningham and @WhipClyburn, and to South Carolina @MomsDemand volunteers, and volunteers nationwide, who worked to get Congress to vote for this bill. #endgunviolence pic.twitter.com/acf8rMv8c9— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 28, 2019
HR1112 passed! ???????????? pic.twitter.com/XYV0HgAHol— Rev Sharon Risher (@RisherRev) February 28, 2019
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords applauded the decision in a statement through his gun control group, Giffords:
Passing this commonsense legislation is yet another example of how serious the new majority in the House of Representatives is about taking action to make our communities safer from gun violence and build on yesterday’s historic victory to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. The horrifying frequency with which we watch terrifying scenes unfold in our communities because a dangerous person was able to obtain a gun is devastating—and it’s not normal.
America will never forget what happened at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Places of peace and prayer should never become scenes of terror. Every family in America has the right to worship, work, study, and play without the fear of gun violence. If we’re serious about building a safer America, we have to be serious about advancing solutions. My gratitude is with Congressman Clyburn for his leadership championing this commonsense legislation that will provide law enforcement officers with the time they need to do their job and finish background checks before allowing people who may be at risk of harming themselves or others from obtaining guns. We urge the Senate to follow suit and pass this responsible legislation that will help strengthen the background check system and make our country a safer place.
The National Rifle Association wasn't happy about the decision.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, released the following statement in reaction to the bill's passage:
The anti-gun politicians in the House of Representatives continue to employ the shameful tactic of exploiting tragedies to market gun control that won’t prevent criminals from committing murder. It’s a sham and the Charleston Loophole bill is the perfect example of their dishonesty. The assertion that a supposed 10-day delay would have prevented a crime that took place over 60 days after the initial delay is ridiculous. This legislation would not have prevented the Charleston murders, and even worse, the legislation is so poorly drafted it would put law-abiding citizens who need a firearm for self-defense at risk by trapping them in an endless loop of delays. The NRA will continue to fight for the constitutional right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families without apology.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation believes improving the NICS system would be more beneficial than H.R. 1112:
As the trade association that represents the retailers who are on the front lines of stopping sales to those individuals who should never have guns, our focus continues to be on improving the quality of the records reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS). After all, the system is only as good as the records in it. Several recent tragedies indicate the need to continue working on those improvements, not in expanding a system to cover more transactions in a manner that will do little to nothing to enhance public safety, but that will affect law-abiding citizens.
It was NSSF’s FixNICS initiative that served as the model for the 2018 bipartisan legislation that passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Trump. We need to focus on such real solutions to make our communities safer.
Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America's Executive Director, believes this bill will turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals.
H.R. 1112 would make the background check system worse. Already, 95% of NICS denials are “false positives,” which means most of the people who are being denied are not the people that want to hold up the neighborhood grocery store.
But the language of H.R. 1112 would penalize every gun purchaser who receives a non-committal response from the FBI -- essentially extending the 3-day waiting period to a minimum of two weeks.
And that’s the minimum! The worst-case scenario is that the Attorney General can hold up one’s gun purchases indefinitely, which is a distinct possibility under this bill.
President Donald Trump previously vowed to veto H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, should it pass the senate and land on his desk.
This story has been updated with reaction from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Gun Owners of America.