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The ‘Charleston’ background check loophole isn’t a loophole at all | READER COMMENTARY

Pastor Jackie Jackson, right, an anti-violence advocate from Cincinnati, is joined by gun violence survivor Mia Livas Porter, lower right, of Los Angeles, as they comfort Rev. Sharon Risher, center, whose mother was killed in the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, S.C., during a House Democratic forum urging the Senate to vote on a bill that would expand background checks for gun purchases, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Pastor Jackie Jackson, right, an anti-violence advocate from Cincinnati, is joined by gun violence survivor Mia Livas Porter, lower right, of Los Angeles, as they comfort Rev. Sharon Risher, center, whose mother was killed in the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, S.C., during a House Democratic forum urging the Senate to vote on a bill that would expand background checks for gun purchases, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

I read with dismay the recent commentary by Montgomery County Council Vice President Tom Hucker and state Sen. Will Smith (”Maryland needs to close ‘Charleston’ gun loophole,” July 31). The “Charleston Loophole” they describe is not a loophole at all. It is a specifically designed statute to protect the constitutional rights of gun owners from overreach from politicians like Councilman Hucker and Senator Smith.

This “loophole” puts the onus of conducting a background check on the state, rather than the citizen. This prevents failures on the part of the state, including the one cited in the article, from impacting the rights of law-abiding citizens. It also prevents the state from more insidiously issuing a shadow ban of gun purchases, by intentionally understaffing the department running background checks.

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Of all the guns purchased in America last year, only 3% passed the 3-day mark for a background check. Of those delayed checks, only 1% proceeded to actually be denied. In their own example, the authors could not find a single circumstance in our state where an applicant who passed our 7-day mark failed the check. With such small rates of failure, it is clear that the real victims here are law-abiding Americans having their constitutional rights threatened.

If the authors are so concerned about background check delays, perhaps they should ensure that the infrastructure for efficient and speedy checks is in place. It is, after all, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Not the National Criminal Background Check System Whenever Anti-Gun Politicians Feel Like It.

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Graham Shaffer, Lutherville

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