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House passes second gun control bill extending FBI holds on gun transfers

Row of handguns. (US Coast Guard Academy/Released)
March 11, 2021

The House passed the Enhanced Backgrounds Checks Act by a vote of 219-210 Thursday, a bill that would allow the FBI to put a hold on transferring a firearm for a minimum of 10 days and up to 30 days, rather than the three days currently allowed by law.

Sponsored by South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, H.R. 1446 claims to fix the “Charleston Loophole” which allows a firearm to be transferred to an individual if there is no denial of a background check within 3 days.

Typically, a background check response is received by Federal Firearms Licensees within minutes, but delays sometimes occur due to slow system response, anomalies in the individual’s background or multiple people with the same name.

In an effort to avoid violating Americans’ Second Amendment rights, if a denial is not received within a 3 day hold, the licensee can transfer the gun to the customer, essentially protecting law-abiding gun owners’ Constitutional rights against government’s delayed background check response.

Under H.R. 1446, the hold would be extended from three days to a minimum of 10 business days, and up to 30 business days.

The passage of H.R. 1446 comes moments after the House voted in favor of the  Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8) with a vote of 227-203.

H.R. 8 would criminalize private gun sales conducted without a background check, making private transfers illegal without government oversight.

“It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm,” H.R. 8 states.

Shortly after the passage of both bills in the House, the National Rifle Association tweeted, “The US House of Reps just PASSED MORE Biden-pushed gun control.”

The pro-Second Amendment group noted that the bills ban private transfers and give “government bureaucrats power to indefinitely delay gun sales.”

“We said it during the election and we’ll say it again: Biden wants to DISMANTLE the 2nd Amendment,” the group continued.

On Monday, President Joe Biden’s administration released a statement pressuring lawmakers in Congress to pass the two gun-control bills, calling gun violence a “public health crisis.”

“Every day, gun violence – community violence, domestic violence, suicides, and mass shootings – takes American lives and forever alters many more. Last year, we saw record levels of homicides in cities throughout our country, violence that disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities,” the statement read.