In 2015, Dylann Roof entered the Emmanuel Church in Charleston, SC, murdering nine worshippers. While Roof was legally prohibited from purchasing a firearm, his background check was not completed within 72 hours, which enabled the transaction to take place. This defect in the background check law has come to be known as the "Charleston Loophole" and 20 states have already passed legislation to fix this.
This week, the Vermont Legislature passed S.30, which closes the "Charleston Loophole" by requiring that background checks be completed before firearms can be sold. The bill also bans guns in Vermont hospitals, which have seen an increase in violence over the course of the pandemic, and clarifies existing law that helps protect survivors of domestic violence from gun violence.
Governor Scott has thus far opposed this legislation, telling VPR that "I don't believe that we need to change any of our gun laws at this point in time." We disagree and ask him to sign this lifesaving legislation.
Closing the “Charleston Loophole”, helps ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of those who pose a risk to themselves or others. Requiring that background checks be completed before firearms are sold will only impact three percent of buyers, but could very well save lives. This is a small but meaningful step to protect our family, friends and neighbors.
We ask you to sign S.30, which closes the "Charleston Loophole," bans guns in hospitals and helps survivors of domestic violence. Firearms have no place in medical settings, which have increasingly become highly stressed, emotionally charged environments during the pandemic. Healthcare professionals deserve a safe work environment, particularly given the sacrifices they make to keep us healthy in these difficult times.
We, the undersigned, agree with the 74 percent of Vermonters who believe common sense legislation like S.30 is needed to reduce gun violence and save lives.