Blumenthal: ‘Absurd’ to Think Background Checks Proposal Wouldn’t Have Stopped Las Vegas Shooter

• October 3, 2017 6:59 pm


Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) on Tuesday condemned an argument by opponents that  gun control measures proposed by Democrats wouldn't have stopped the Las Vegas mass shooter, saying "that argument is absurd."

"Enough of the evasions that it's not time yet, that it won't deal with that problem, that the background check proposal wouldn't have stopped the killer in Las Vegas. That argument is absurd," Blumenthal said at a gun violence presser with fellow Democrats.

Blumenthal proceeded to argue that ensuring universal background checks and closing the "gun show loophole" would equate to progress.

"We must take steps to stop gun violence and we know background checks will do it. Closing that loophole for the gun shows is absolutely essential," he said referring to a perceived "loophole."

The "gun show loophole" is used by some Democrats in reference to the Brandy bill, which says private-party sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers, whether at a gun show or elsewhere. The majority of private sales of this sort do not occur at gun shows.

Blumenthal appeared to get his "loopholes" slightly confused when discussing the case of white supremacist Dylann Roof who killed nine Charleston, S.C. church-goers in June, 2015.

"[Dylann Roof] walked out of the gun show with that weapon he used to kill innocent people under existing law because of a loophole that says the purchaser can walk away with a gun after 72 hours if the background check is incomplete. That is absurd," Blumenthal said.

Roof's case did not in fact involve gun shows. A background check was initiated when Roof went to purchase a pistol from a S.C. dealer, but he was not able to purchase the weapon immediately as a result of a recent arrest, the New York Times reported. Under federal law, the FBI has three business days to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny a purchase. Ultimately, the investigation was not completed in the required time, and Roof was able to return on the fourth day and purchase the weapon.

Blumenthal finished his speech by calling to "mobilize the 90 percent of the American people that want to make America safer," and by attacking the National Rifle Association.

"Let's face it, the reasons we don't have gun safety measures in the United States today is because of the NRA. And we will defeat them. They are already losing their grip," Blumenthal said.