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Ruppersberger Supports Bipartisan Common Sense Gun Safety Measures

Mar 11, 2021
Press Release
Bills require universal background checks and end so-called “Charleston loophole”

(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) today joined a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in supporting bipartisan, common sense gun safety measures that will require a background check for every gun sale or transfer. Congressman Ruppersberger co-sponsored both H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and H.R. 1466, The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, which now head to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“Background checks are backed by the vast majority of Americans of all political walks – and even gun owners – because they keep weapons out of the hands of bad guys,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. “The gun violence crisis in America, including in our own communities like Baltimore, demands action backed by both common sense and the Constitution, which provides for the right to bear arms. These bills will undoubtedly save lives, including that of our law enforcement officers.”

Every day, background checks stop more than 160 felons and some 50 domestic abusers from buying a gun.  Yet up to 80 percent of firearms used for criminal purposes are sold without background checks due to existing loopholes. The Charleston Loophole – which allows a gun sale to proceed automatically if a background check isn’t complete within three days – alone allows the sale of hundreds of thousands of guns to potentially dangerous individuals each year. 

H.R. 8 ensures that individuals already prohibited from gun possession, like felons and domestic abusers, are not able to obtain firearms by closing a dangerous loophole that currently exempts unlicensed gun sellers from having to perform a background check before selling a firearm. It contains reasonable exceptions that allow a person to give a gun as a gift to a family member, loan a gun for hunting or target shooting or temporarily transfer a gun for self-defense. Click here to read the text of the bill.

H.R. 1466 addresses the so-called “Charleston Loophole” by extending the background check review period from three to ten days, at which point a purchaser can request an escalated review. This loophole enabled the shooter in the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, – who was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm due to his criminal history – to acquire his gun before the FBI could complete his background check.  Hundreds of thousands of these “default” sales occur every year. Click here to read the text of the bill.