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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: The House Votes to Close Another Deadly Gun Background Check Loophole

Happy Friday, Bulletin readers. A day after the House approved a bill to expand the federal gun background check system, lawmakers passed a measure to close another potentially deadly loophole. More on that story, and the rest of the day’s news, below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The House voted to close the “Charleston loophole.” The legislation, which extends the FBI background check investigation period from three days to 10, passed 228 to 198 yesterday. Under current law, licensed gun sellers can release firearms to customers whose background checks take longer than three business days. The loophole allowed the Charleston church shooter to buy a gun in 2015. 

  • Three Republicans voted for the bill. Representatives Peter King of New York, Chris Smith of New Jersey, and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania all also voted for Wednesday’s background check expansion. Also in favor: Sanford Bishop of Georgia, the NRA-backed Democrat who also voted for the background check expansion.
  • All five of the Republican U.S. House members in the South Carolina delegation voted against it, saying that closing the loophole wouldn’t have prevented the Charleston massacre.
  • Seven Democrats voted against it. They include Rep. Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who also voted against the background check expansion. They were joined by representatives from New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin.
  • Here’s how the loophole came to be. The 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which took effect 25 years ago yesterday, originally gave FBI examiners a week to finish their investigation. Our behind-the-scenes account shows how that window was whittled down to three days. 

Like the background check expansion that passed the House on Wednesday, the bill is expected to get the cold shoulder from the Republican-controlled Senate. The chamber is unlikely to even take up the legislation, senior Republicans have indicated. If it does somehow pass the upper chamber, President Trump has indicated that he will veto it.

A group of 166 medical, public health, and research organizations asked Congress for $50 million in CDC funding to study gun violence. Last week, the coalition — which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association — sent letters to the House and Senate requesting the funding for 2020. “Federally funded public health research has a proven track record of reducing public health-related deaths, whether from motor vehicle crashes, smoking, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” they argued.

Parents in Ohio say school officials silenced opponents of a plan to arm teachers. In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the plaintiffs say the Madison Local School District board “engaged in a concerted campaign designed to chill and silence” them by barring them from speaking at public meetings where the policy was discussed. They also allege that the school board severely disciplined students who participated in last year’s national school gun reform walkout. Four students were injured when a 14-year-old opened fire at Madison Jr/Sr High School in Middletown, Ohio, in 2016.

A doctor at a VA hospital in south Florida was shot in the neck by a patient. Larry Ray Bon, who served a month in the Army in the 1970s, fired on the physician attempting to subdue him in the hospital’s emergency room Wednesday evening. The doctor was treated and released. A second VA employee was grazed by the bullet. Bon, originally from Michigan, suffers from mental illness, his family said.