COLUMBIA, SC – The Everytown Survivor Network and the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statements in support of SB 917/918 and HB 4551/4552. The bi-partisan legislation, prefiled in the Senate by Senator Gerald Malloy and in the House by Representative Norman “Doug” Brannon, would close the Charleston loophole, which allows guns to be sold – even if a legally required background check is incomplete – if law enforcement cannot determine within three business days whether a prospective gun buyer’s criminal history prohibits him from owning guns. The vast majority of background checks are completed instantaneously. The bills’ impact is limited to instances when law enforcement cannot immediately determine whether the purchaser is prohibited or not. In these rare but important instances, the bill would give law enforcement more time to investigate complicated criminal histories of prospective gun buyers like the shooter at the AME Church in Charleston.
STATEMENT FROM SHARON RISHER, WHOSE MOTHER, ETHEL LANCE, AND TWO COUSINS, SUSIE JACKSON AND TYWANZA SANDERS, WERE KILLED IN THE AME CHURCH SHOOTING:
“My mother and cousins were wonderful people of strength and faith, and it pains me each day that I don’t get to spend with them,” said Sharon Risher, a member of Everytown’s Survivor Network. “The shooter who murdered nine people at AME Church never should have been able to buy a gun, but he was able to run out the clock and buy a gun anyway because of the Charleston loophole. We will never be able to bring our loved ones who were murdered back, but thanks to the leadership of Senator Malloy and Representative Brannon, legislators now have a choice – they can do nothing or they can take steps to prevent the next tragedy by closing this dangerous loophole.”
STATEMENT FROM SYLVIE DESSAU, VOLUNTEER CHAPTER LEADER, SOUTH CAROLINA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION:
“After the shooting, we learned that this tragedy could have been prevented if law enforcement had more time to complete the background check,” said Sylvie Dessau, Volunteer Chapter Leader of the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our current background check system allows the clock to run out way too quickly—and that’s what happened in the case of the Charleston shooter. By passing the important bills introduced by Senator Malloy and Representative Brannon, we can keep guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill and save lives.”
According to the FBI, the Charleston shooter was able to purchase the gun he used in the shooting because this three-day window had elapsed—and the dealer was able to lawfully sell him the gun even though the criminal background check was not complete. In the last five years, gun dealers have sold more than 15,000 guns to criminals and other prohibited people without completing a background check first because of this loophole. In passing this common sense measure, South Carolina would join 16 other states that give authorities longer than three business days to complete a criminal background check before allowing a gun sale to proceed.