March 31, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Join Colleagues to Introduce “No Check, No Sale” Bill to Close the Charleston Loophole

In 2019, more than eight prohibited people a day were sold guns by dealers who do not wait for a completed background check.


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to introduce the Background Check Completion Act, legislation to close a current loophole that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed within a certain time period, even if the gun buyer is not legally allowed to purchase a gun. The gap in existing law has allowed thousands of gun sales to prohibited buyers, including the sale of the firearm used by the shooter in the deadly attack at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“It’s just common sense that if you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm—and the vast majority of Americans know it,” said Duckworth. “With more than 130 mass shootings this year alone, how many lives must be taken before Congress finally says, ‘enough is enough?’ In the wake of so many senseless tragedies, it’s past time Congress acted to close this loophole and help keep weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”

“We have seen the tragic consequences when guns end up in the hands of prohibited buyers because a background check was not able to be completed in time.  The Background Check Completion Act would finally ensure that no one will be able to purchase a firearm from a gun dealer without first passing a background check,” said Durbin.  “It’s long past time that we fixed this loophole.

When a criminal background check indicates that a firearm purchaser may have a criminal record, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tries to determine whether the purchaser can legally buy a gun. If this process takes longer than 72 hours for those 21 years of age or older, or 10 days for those under 21, gun dealers can complete the sale even though there is a heightened risk that the purchaser is legally disqualified from purchasing a gun.

The Background Check Completion Act would require a completed background check for every gun buyer who purchases a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer.

The Background Check Completion Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Alex Padilla (D-CA).

The legislation has been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Brady, Sandy Hook Promise and Newtown Action Alliance.