My Russian grandfather advised my American-born father against joining any political organizations. “You don’t know what is going to happen in the future in this world. You could belong to an organization and later end up getting arrested.”
Would these two men be upset with me or proud of me for joining an organization—Moms Demand Action—whose purpose is “to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms,” and who believes “common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day?”
Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the South Carolina Judiciary Subcommittee with some of my fellow Moms Who Demand Action. The agenda was twofold:
1. Discuss an amendment to a bill to increase penalties for threatening a person with a firearm in a public or private school or any public building.
2. Close the “Charleston Loophole,” which would extend the waiting period to buy a gun.
This was a first for me. I would like to add my observations. In my ninety minute introduction to how to pass or amend a law, I learned why it takes so long to get anything done in Washington, DC. It is all about the wording and talking. It takes a lot of talking!
Much time was spent regarding the word “firearm,” because it was pointed out that other instruments, such as a knife or a car could cause injury, so the wording was altered to say something to the effect of “firearm or instrument.” The Senators were worried about a savvy lawyer getting a case thrown out of court if the weapon was other than a gun.
I learned that most background checks are completed within minutes of the desired purchase of a gun or after the passage of three business days. The sale can go through if the background check has not been completed within the three days. This is called the Charleston Loophole, because the killer at the Emanuel Church was able to purchase his gun once the three-day period had expired.
The bill proposed yesterday was to increase the time to five days, even though it was acknowledged that it should be “until the background check is complete.” The problem with increasing the time beyond five days is the concern that in this state, any more time would not garner enough votes—even though a beloved member of the state legislature was among the victims of the Charleston shooting.
That was abhorrent to me. More shocking to me was the added information that only 8% of all attempted purchases are not cleared immediately and need the extra three business days. No statistics were given regarding how many of those 8% do not pass after the three days, but I found some numbers on my own.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, during the period between February 28, 1994 and December 31, 2015, 3 million checks were denied out of 197 million performed during that time—1.5%. I wonder how many purchases were allowed simply because the time expired.
Why not wait as long as it takes? If it takes longer than the three days, perhaps there is a problem. If a law-abiding person needs more time, than
What would Dad and Grandpa think?