Legislation promises to close loophole that allowed Dylann Roof to buy a gun

Updated: Mar. 8, 2017 at 1:46 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Almost two years after nine parishioners were murdered at Charleston's Mother Emmanuel AME Church, new legislation on the Senate floor promises to close the loophole that allowed the confessed shooter to buy a gun.

South Carolina Senators Greg Gregory and Marlon Kimpson held a press conference Wednesday to announce bills being introduced this week.

The legislation plans to close the so-called "Charleston loophole" in two ways.

First, it will focus on reporting. Legislators say they're trying to bring uniformity to how courts report cases to SLED.

The bill would require each case be reported within 10 days. Courts would also be required to report restraining orders, orders of protection, orders preventing a person from possessing a firearm, orders issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or those relating to stalking, intimidation or harassment and orders for bond within 48 hours of issuance. Currently, there's no deadline.

The goal is to speed up getting information entered into the NICS database that's used to screen people buying a gun in South Carolina.

Lawmakers say the most contentious element, however, could be the second part of the bill -- a plan to extend the potential waiting period for those purchasing a gun from three to five days.

Right now, a licensed firearms dealer must wait three days for results from a NICS screening before transferring a weapon to a buyer.

According to the bill sponsors, 99 percent of South Carolinians are approved within 10 minutes to purchase a gun. This extended waiting period would apply to those who aren't. That's the 1 percent of buyers are flagged by the system requiring a human to look further into their background before authorizing a purchase.

They say many gun dealers have said three days isn't enough. For that reason, the bill will extend it to five days.

That clause, however, would be scheduled to sunset or cease after two years. The bill also includes a plan to create a committee that would clean up the reporting system. Once done, lawmakers say the state could revert back to a three-day waiting period, saying it would then be sufficient.

That committee would be established as the Judicial Criminal Information Technology Committee. It would be responsible for reviewing the current state of law enforcement information technology and reporting. Among those serving on the committee will be the Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court.

The bills are scheduled to be introduced this week.

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