The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brady Law at 16: A Public Safety Success Story


Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
Violence, issued the following statement today on the sixteenth
anniversary of the signing of the Brady Law:

"On November 30,
1993, President Bill Clinton was joined by Jim and Sarah Brady and many
others in the White House for the signing of the Brady Law which
requires criminal background checks on firearms purchases from
federally licensed gun dealers. From when the law went into effect in
1994 through last December, nearly 1.8 million prohibited purchasers
have been stopped in their attempts to buy firearms illegally. The
Federal Bureau of Investigation has built a powerful and efficient
system for running these background checks, with over 90 percent of
checks being completed within minutes.

"While we celebrate
this law as a major success story in our efforts to reduce gun
violence, we need to do more by closing the loophole in this law that
allows dangerous people to buy guns without a background check from
'private sellers' at places like gun shows. Ten years ago last April,
two high schoolers killed 13 at Columbine High School in Colorado,
armed with guns purchased from gun shows without Brady background
checks. This past summer, Colin Goddard, who was shot four times at
Virginia Tech in April 2007, visited gun shows with a hidden camera
and recorded transaction after transaction of purchases of firearms
without a Brady background check. It's frightening to see how easy it
is to buy guns without a background check. Colin Goddard's story can
be viewed at

must also ensure that states supply and the FBI has access to the
records needed to identify people who are prohibited from purchasing
firearms, and make certain that records of sales are not hastily
destroyed in a way that makes the job of law enforcement tougher.

years after opponents of sensible gun laws argued that the Brady Law
would be ineffective because criminals supposedly wouldn't buy guns
from licensed dealers, we see almost two million blocked sales. We
need to extend that success in blocking dangerous people from getting
guns by requiring Brady checks on all gun sales and ensuring the
appropriate records are in place."

For more information on the Brady law, visit

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.