No, a legal “loophole” was not the reason the Charleston shooter was able to purchase a gun. Run-of-the-mill government incompetence was.
The New York Times published a blockbuster report this afternoon claiming that a legal ‘loophole’ in firearm background check laws allowed the Charleston shooter to purchase a gun he wasn’t legally allowed to have. There’s only one problem with the story: it was government incompetence, not a loophole, that rendered the background check ineffective. Here’s how the NYT described what happened:
WASHINGTON — The man accused of killing nine people in an historically black South Carolina church last month should not have been able to buy a gun, the F.B.I. said Friday in what was the latest acknowledgment of flaws in the national background check system.
A loophole in the check system allowed the man, Dylann Roof, to buy the .45-caliber handgun despite his having previously admitted to drug possession, the bureau said. Those conducting the background check did not have access to that police report.
Uh, that’s neither a “loophole” nor a “flaw in the national background check system.” It’s human error, namely a failure to enter data into the system. Nonetheless, Internet partisans who struggle with basic logic and reading comprehension jumped on the news: