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JUNE 21, 1998
4:31 PM
CONTACT:  Handgun Control
Robin Terry 800-465-0187
Sarah Brady Statement on Justice Dept. Report on Brady Law Success
WASHINGTON - June 21  -- Following is a statement by Sarah Brady, chairperson of Handgun Control Inc. (HCI), today on a new Justice Department report on the success of the Brady Law:

"The Brady Law is still working to block handgun sales to convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill and other prohibited purchasers, according to a report released today by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. In 1997 alone, 69,000 people who were prohibited by law from buying handguns were denied access to these lethal weapons due to background checks. In the four years since the Brady Law was implemented, an estimated 242,000 ineligible purchasers have been stopped from buying handguns.

"Before the Brady Law, guns could be purchased cash and carry, no questions asked in most states. Today, criminals are still trying to buy guns in gun stores, but now they are walking out empty-handed. Since the law was implemented in 1994, gun-related violent crime has been dropping even faster than violent crime overall, according to a Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV) analysis of the FBI Uniform Crime Report. A 1997 CPHV study also found that the Brady Law has significantly reduced interstate gun trafficking from states where many crime guns were previously purchased."

Despite Brady's unequivocal success, the law's five-day waiting period is scheduled to be replaced with a computerized instant background check system on Nov. 30, 1998. Although the Department of Justice and FBI have been successful in centralizing most crime records, some information, like mental health records and recent arrests, will not be available through the system. The Brady Law's waiting period provides local law enforcement with the time to conduct more thorough background checks and to contribute information from state and local records to gun dealers.

As important, the waiting period serves as a 'cooling off period,' which prevents crimes of passion and impulse suicides. A CPHV study demonstrated that guns recovered as part of homicide investigations make up a disproportionately large share of firearms traced by ATF within one week of the date the guns were purchased. Some guns are certainly purchased for an immediate murder or suicide; retaining the waiting period as a complement to the instant-check system will certainly save lives.

"There are few laws that have such overwhelming support from the American public and have been proven as effective as the Brady Law. Congress has a responsibility to the American public to ensure that this progress continues by extending the waiting period beyond the November deadline."
Handgun Control Inc. (HCI), chaired by Sarah Brady, is the nation's largest citizens' gun control lobbying organization. Based in Washington, D.C., HCI works to enact stronger federal, state and local gun control laws, but does not seek to ban handguns. Founded in 1974, HCI has more than 400,000 members nationwide and works with local groups around the country to enact and protect reasonable gun control laws.
The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV), also chaired by Sarah Brady, was founded in 1983 to reduce gun violence through education, legal advocacy, research and outreach to the entertainment community. Based in Washington, D.C., CPHV's national initiatives include prevention programs for parents and youth on the risks associated with guns, legal representation for gun violence victims, work with the entertainment community to encourage deglamorization of guns in the media, and research of the risks associated with guns and the efficacy of gun control laws.
More information about both HCI and CPHV can be found on the organization's Web site at


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