On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Before his murder spree, Roof asked to purchase a gun at a local gun store. He filled out his ATF background check form 4473. The gun store plugged his info into the FBI NICS database. The system failed to respond with a yes/no within the legally specified three-day time limit. The sale then proceeded. This failure was not a “loophole.” It was . . .
a double failure of the background check system — from both the Charleston police (who didn’t enter Roof’s addiction to opiates into the FBI’s database) and the FBI (which didn’t process the NICS request within the allotted three-day time period).
Calling this failure “the Charleston loophole” is gun control advocates’ attempt to remove the three-day NICS approval/denial mandatory maximum.
Keep in mind that NICS is supposed to be an instant system, and usually is. Normally, a NICS check takes seconds.
The mandatory maximum waiting period for a NICS approval/denial ensures that gun purchases don’t fall afoul of bureaucratic delay, whether from malfeasance or political manipulation. It also conforms wth the general principle that a right delayed is a right denied.
A principle already violated in states with “cooling off periods” between purchase and delivery (e.g., California’s ten-day waiting period). There is no scientific evidence that these delays have an effect on criminal use or suicides.
All of which underscores the futility indeed inadvisability of “closing the Charlestown loophole.”
Those arguing for removing the mandatory maximum NICS delay don’t want any mandatory waiting period. They want the FBI to withhold approval/denial for “as long as it takes.” Which violates the terms of the NICS mandate and opens-up the possibilities described above.
One more thing . .
Even when the FBI’s background checks system works properly, it’s nothing more than security theater. A criminal, terrorist or crazy can and obtain guns outside the FBI background check system, by stealing a firearm (e.g., Newtown killer Adam Lanza) or buying one “on the street.”
Suggesting that “fixing” the FBI’s background check system will limit “gun violence” is dangerously naive — and just plain dangerous for Americans’ seeking to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.