The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Report Shows Need For Brady Checks At Gun Shows And For All Gun Sales;

Gun Show Loophole Legislation Introduced In The U.S. Senate


The day after the tenth anniversary of the Columbine High School
tragedy, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg is poised to introduce a bill in
the U.S. Senate to close the loophole that allows dangerous people to
buy guns at gun shows in most U.S. states without passing a Brady
background check. A new report from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
Violence was also released today, making a forceful case that Brady
checks should be conducted for all gun sales in America, including at
gun shows.

"Ten years after two dangerous high school students exploited the gun
show loophole to destroy the lives of countless fellow students in a
horrific massacre, it is way past time to extend the successful Brady
background check system in America to every gun sale in America," said
Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign. "There
is no rational reason why we should continue to allow a system where
criminals and other dangerous people can buy guns without a background
check, no questions asked
. I want to applaud Senator Frank
Lautenberg for the bill he is introducing today in the United States
Senate to close the gun show loophole. This legislation will make it
harder for dangerous people to get guns, and will be an important step
towards requiring Brady background checks for all gun sales."

The Brady report, No Check, No Gun, was released at the press
conference Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) held this morning. It can be
accessed online at

The report explains that though the Brady background check system has
successfully blocked over 1.6 million prohibited purchasers from buying
guns, the system has a major gap because it requires background checks
only for gun sales by licensed dealers. About 40 percent of gun sales
are made by unlicensed sellers without a background check to see if the
purchaser is a criminal or otherwise prohibited from buying guns.

"In effect," the report explains, "we have two gun markets: A regulated
one, where buyers are checked to see if they can legally buy guns, and
an unregulated one, where they are not."

The report explains how the no-check loophole has become a supply
source for criminals who want guns and for traffickers who supply
criminals. Sales with no Brady check "have armed countless criminals,
including the Columbine High School killers, the neo-Nazi spree killer
of Ricky Byrdsong and others in Illinois and Indiana, the Los Angeles
Jewish Community Center shooter, killers of police officers, and the
notorious Mexican drug cartels. Terrorist organizations, including
Hezbollah, have attempted to exploit the no check loophole to amass
their arsenals," the Brady report says.

"This is where we should go as a nation - Brady background checks on every sale,"
Helmke said. "It is a sensible and simple step that has been supported
by progressives and conservatives alike. The legislation on Capitol
Hill would be a significant step in this direction. President Obama
has consistently supported closing the gun show loophole, as has
Senator John McCain, Attorney General Eric Holder, and many other
leaders. Polls show 83 percent of Americans support requiring
background checks for all gun sales.

"We can do this," Helmke said. "It will have no impact on any
law-abiding gun owner in the country. There is absolutely no valid
argument against doing this. We owe it to the victims at Columbine to
finally get it done."

Brady United formerly known as The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence. We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.