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Daughter of Emanuel 9 victim believes better background checks could have prevented tragedy

‘Charleston Loophole’ remains intact nearly six years after church killings
Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:03 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Nearly six years after the tragedy inside Mother Emanuel AME Church, the Charleston loophole remains intact.

It’s what many consider a flaw in the background check system that allowed Dylann Roof to buy the gun he used to kill 9 black parishioners on June 17, 2015.

Just a day before the killings’ anniversary, the daughter of one of those parishioners said lawmakers need to act now.

Reverend Sharon Risher said she believes the Charleston loophole was one of the main factors behind the deaths of her mother and cousins.

“My mother and cousins and everybody else that was in that church that night would be alive if it worked,” Risher said. “So, I’m wanting South Carolina and every state to understand it’s not about taking anything away from anybody but just extending the time to get it right.”

Many believe that had an FBI background check been completed, Roof would have been barred from buying the gun he used.

Congressman Jim Clyburn has introduced legislation at the federal level that would extend the initial background check review period from three to 10 days.

It’s been passed by the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.

Risher hopes the legislation can push states like South Carolina to take action, too.

“The state of South Carolina, you would think, would be the forerunner in wanting to get this bill passed. But we see that our legislators have totally disregarded that. What will it take for all states, especially South Carolina, to see how beneficial this is going to be for everybody?” Risher said.

The lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association argues that the loophole doesn’t exist. The NRA believes extending the background check review period would make it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families.

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