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H.R.3464 / S.1923 - Background Check Completion Act of 2017

Congress man and Senator Richard blumenthal speaking in front of children.

To prohibit firearms dealers from selling a firearm prior to the completion of a background check.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe no firearm should be sold without first fully completing a background check. The so-called “3-day rule” loophole, where individuals are only allowed to buy a firearm 72 hours after a background check was initiated, must be discarded to ensure no gun is sold without fully executing the background check.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe there is a process in place for background checks that take longer than 72 hours, and therefore it should not be changed. The legislation infringes 2nd amendment rights.

The Background Check Completion Act would prohibit firearms dealers from selling a firearm prior to the completion of a background check.

Under current law, background checks are mandatory to buy a firearm, but since some background checks can take more time than others, there is a “loophole” which allows a firearms dealer to complete a transaction after 3 days of waiting for a background check. Should there be a problem with the background check after the 3 days, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives" (ATF) is contacted and measures are then taken, such as confiscating the weapon back from the individual. This bill would get rid of this “loophole” by mandating dealers to wait for the background check to be completed, no matter the time it takes.

Firearm transactions must initiate a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a database of people deemed unfit to own weapons. While some background checks are completed within the 3-day rule, some require the FBI to dig a bit more, therefore delaying the background check. This loophole allows individuals to have a weapon even if their background check is delayed by the FBI.

The NRA-ILA, the lobbying arm for the National Rifle Association (NRA) explains the process: “The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was designed to be just that: instant. Recognizing, however, that some determinations might require additional research to resolve authoritatively, the law states that if an immediate answer is not available, the transfer must be put on hold for three business days to give the FBI more time to research the matter. After the three days, the [firearms dealer] has the option to release the firearm to the buyer or transferee, so long as the [firearms dealer] has no other reason to believe the person is prohibited from possessing it. The FBI will then continue trying to resolve the case for up to 90 days. If it turns out the recipient is determined to be prohibited, the FBI queries the dealer to see if the firearm was transferred. If so, the FBI notifies the [ATF], so appropriate action can be taken.”

Those who support the legislation believe individuals still have the right to own a firearm, they just must wait whatever time it takes for a background check to be completed, no matter what.

The Background Check Completion Act will guarantee that no gun is sold by a licensed dealer until a background check is completed,” said Rep. Clyburn, sponsor of the bill. “Tragically, the Charleston shooter was allowed to purchase a gun even though the FBI had not completed his background check. This should never be acceptable. My bill is a commonsense fix to our nation’s gun laws, and I call on my colleagues in Congress to move it immediately towards passage.”

“Waiting for a background check, even if longer than 72 hours, is a minor inconvenience far outweighed by the benefit of keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Sen. Blumenthal.


Sponsored by: Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT].

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 21 Dem / 1 Ind.

See list of cosponsors.


Sponsored by: Rep. Clyburn, James E. [D-SC-6].

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 41 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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