A fact-check organization has disputed a claim made by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with regards to the so-called ‘Charleston Loophole.’
At a mid-February campaign rally Clinton — who has criticized Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders for his past support of the ‘Charleston Loophole’ — said that if the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System had “just one more day” to process Dylann Roof’s background check, the 21-year-old would not have been able to purchase the handgun used in the killing of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church last year.
Because of this, Clinton argued for the need for common sense reforms, such as closing the “Charleston Loophole.”
The term “Charleston Loophole” refers to last year’s shooting incident and the law that allows dealers to continue with a firearm sale without a completed background check if it takes NICS more than three days to process the application.
“That’s what the killer in Charleston did,” Clinton said at the campaign stop. “He went and applied to buy that gun. The end of three days he came back. He was sold the gun. Despite the fact that if there had been just one more day the record of his felony conviction would have gotten there. And he would not have been able to buy that gun.”
Additionally, an article published to Clinton’s campaign website makes a similar claim. However, according to Factcheck.org, the FBI has indicated that it was clerical errors that led to Roof’s being able to purchase a firearm — not the three-day limit on processing background checks.
Factcheck.org points out that although Roof had been arrested for possession of Suboxone — a Schedule III narcotic — and had a misdemeanor drug charge that would have led to his being denied the purchase of a gun, the NICS examiner processing his request never saw the incident report with that information.
According to FBI Director James Comey, the wrong arresting agency had been listed in Roof’s file, and NICS had contacted the wrong police departments for information on his case, therefore the charge wasn’t discovered until after the shooting occurred.
“So, ‘just one more day’ for the background check wouldn’t have stopped the sale of the gun or the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church,” the Factcheck post concluded.
Factcheck.org is a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center, a public policy center specializing in researching and reporting on political communication, information and society, media and children, health communication and adolescent risk.