Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-South Carolina said Thursday that he will fight to renew a legislative push to close the so-called “Charleston Loophole” come next year. Kimpson sponsored a bill last session expanding South Carolina’s mandatory waiting period on firearms purchases from three to 28 days, claiming the FBI needs the added time to carry out effective background checks. The “Charleston Loophole” refers to a clerical error where a 21 year old man was allowed to purchase a .45-caliber Glock handgun without a completed background check.
Kimpson, along with others who support gun control, believe that if a law such as this were passed, it may have stopped the June 17, 2015 mass shooting at a Bible study in South Carolina. The shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and left nine people dead. Anti-gun activists claim that the shooting was caused by that clerical error, disregarding the shooters mental health status and the underlying factors that would cause him to go on a shooting rampage.
Kimpson and his supporters claim that an extended waiting period could prevent similar atrocities from taking place.
Kimpson, who sits on the South Carolina state Senate Gun Issues Special Committee, has been on tour across the state gathering testimony from residents about reforming firearm laws in the wake of the Charleston Church shooting. He claims that most South Carolina residents support his initiative, despite more than half of the residents that attended the meeting speaking out against his measure.
Kimpson told reporters: “To be clear, this is not about taking away people’s guns. This is about making sure that people who are unfit to have guns are properly screened with enough time from the federal government to make that decision and get the decision back to the gun dealer.” Those who oppose Kimpson’s efforts say the loophole simply doesn’t exist and strengthening gun control only hurts law-abiding gun owners. The National Rifle Association is defending the loophole in federal law.
In July, FBI Director James Comey announced that Dylann Storm Roof, the Charleston shooter, was ineligible under federal law to buy the gun used in the attack because of a prior admission to drug possession. But, paperwork glitches within the system did not allow employees to locate and view Roof’s arrest record. Kimpson could reintroduce the background check bill as soon as the state’s pre-filing period begins in December.