Lawmakers aim for laws to close gun sales loophole - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers aim for laws to close gun sales loophole

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)

Connecticut lawmakers are aiming to stop gun sales to buyers before background checks are complete.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy announced new legislation on Friday that would bar gun sales until a 72 hour background check is complete.

They said right now, the sales proceed if background checks go beyond 72 hours.

“A ‘default to proceed’ loophole in the Brady Handgun Violence Act allows gun retailers to proceed with a firearms sale after three days, if an applicant’s background check is still pending,” Blumenthal said in a news release.

He said that alleged church shooter Dylann Roof was granted a firearm through the loophole before gunning down nine people in Charleston, SC in June.

“While certain facts remain unknown, the FBI has acknowledged that a fully completed background check would have uncovered Dylann Roof’s prior arrest on a drug charge and his drug addiction, thereby barring him from purchasing the .45-caliber handgun with which he took nine lives,” Blumenthal said.

"Congress has become an accomplice in these murders," Murphy said. "We are quietly endorsing this mass slaughter by refusing to act in the face of mass shooting after mass shooting."

Lawmakers said a growing number of firearms dealers, including Walmart, do not allow default sales. Connecticut laws currently prohibit them as well.

They argue, however, that guns easily pass across borders and leave states like Connecticut vulnerable without federal action.

In August, Blumenthal and Murphy said they sent a letter to Cabela’s, EZ Pawn and Bass Pro Shop, three businesses that currently allow default sales. They said the letter pointed on the dangers of the loophole.

Despite a number of follow-up attempts, Blumenthal and Murphy said those firearms dealers did not respond.

That’s why they said they went forward with legislative action.

"Since Newtown, there have been 142 school shootings," Blumenthal said.

The senators were joined by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Newtown police chief Michael Kehoe, Hartford deputy chief Brian Foley and a number of gun safety advocates.

"It's the yellow light turning red," Esty said. "'Oh, quick, give them a gun now, because we can't sort out whether they're a felon or not.'"

They joined the effort and the Connecticut senators have support from 11 others. The bill will be submitted next week.

"I don't care how many members of Congress sent out Tweets saying they're sorry, or they extend their sympathies. You aren't sorry. You aren't truly sympathetic if you aren't willing to act," Murphy said.

Connecticut's largest grass roots gun rights group, The Connecticut Citizens Defense League called into question the efficiency of gun free zones.

"Signs or laws that bar individuals from possessing  the means for personal protection will not work, nor have they ever worked against criminals who are bent on murder," it said in a statement.

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