Clyburn optimistic Congress can close ‘Charleston loophole’ on gun purchases
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn thinks Congress can pass bipartisan legislation on stricter gun background checks rules and federal guidelines on “red flag” laws despite staunch Republican opposition, he said Saturday.
In March, the House passed a Clyburn-sponsored bill increasing the waiting time required for background checks from three business days to 10.
“Why is it so important to get a gun in three days? What’s wrong with 10 days? We wait 30 days to get something in the mail when we order it online,” the South Carolina Democrat said in an interview on MSNBC Saturday morning. “I believe that there are more and more people coming to that conclusion. I think that we can get a bipartisan bill done. I do believe that if the Senate were to get the bill to the floor, I think it’ll pass.”
Clyburn’s legislation aims to close the so-called “Charleston loophole,” which allows people with incomplete background checks to purchase guns after three days. Clyburn has pushed for the legislation after a gunman killed nine people at a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015.
Such legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it would require 10 Republicans to get on board with all Democrats. Democrats have unsuccessfully tried several times to pass stricter gun laws in recent years, with calls for action increasing after mass shootings last month in Georgia and Colorado.
Clyburn’s optimism for legislative action comes after President Joe Biden unveiled a slew of executive actions Thursday with the aim of slowing what he called an “international embarrassment” of gun violence. Those included reining in “ghost guns” and requiring the Department of Justice to give a new report yearly on gun trafficking, among other things. He also called for the Justice Department to author “model” red-flag gun law legislation for states.
Biden also called on the Senate to pass the House-approved legislation closing the Charleston loophole, adding universal background checks and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
In the interview Saturday morning, Clyburn also echoed Biden’s sentiments on a wave of GOP-backed state laws that add restrictions on voting in the name of “election security,” pushed despite no evidence of widespread fraud.
“It is the most massive voter suppression activity to take place since the Jim Crow laws,” Clyburn said. “I happen, as you know, to study history pretty much daily. And I can tell you that just because you say it is something, we have to look at the effect of it.”