WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) – On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and 12 of his Senate colleagues urged gun dealers to stop selling firearms to people who do not first pass a background check.
Currently, when a criminal background check indicates that a firearm purchaser may have a criminal record, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tries to determine whether the purchaser can legally buy a gun. If this process takes longer than 72 hours, gun dealers can complete the sale even though there is a heightened risk that the purchaser is a criminal or otherwise dangerous.
A growing number of firearms dealers—including WalMart, the country’s largest—do not allow these “default sales.” In the letter sent to Cabela’s, EZ Pawn, and Bass Pro Shops – three large firearms dealers that currently allow default sales – and the National Shooting and Sports Foundation, the Senators pointed out the serious, and potentially deadly, consequences, and urged the retailers to cease the practice of default sales.
“The FBI acknowledges that a fully completed background check would have uncovered the alleged perpetrator’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,” the Senators wrote. “In the last five years, the ‘default to proceed’ loophole has led gun retailers to proceed with 15,729 firearm sales to ‘prohibited people’ – individuals who were deemed ineligible to purchase a firearm once their background checks were completed.”
“Based on FBI data, the Brady Campaign estimates that on average more than ten prohibited people a day are sold guns by gun dealers who do not use their discretion to wait for a final determination from FBI.”
“You have a duty to ensure that your products do not get into the hands of dangerous individuals like the Emanuel AME Church shooter…After the horror inflicted upon the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, no responsible gun retailer should transfer a gun without first conducting a complete background check.”
Joining Kaine as co-signers are U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Edward Markey, Robert Menendez, Chris Murphy, Jack Reed, Chuck Schumer and Sheldon Whitehouse.