For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Peter Hamm,
Communications Director
Doug Pennington,
Assistant Director: 202-898-0792.

America Leads: Unfortunately, in Gun Homicides

WASHINGTON - God Bless America. On the eve of the Fourth of July, as Americans
reflect on the history of the nation’s founding and contemplate its
future, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has released the latest edition of its God Bless America poster,
documenting that, in one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35
in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200
in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States. 

When compared by
gun murders relative to population size, the facts hold true: Citizens
of the U.S. are murdered with guns at a rate five times higher than our
nearest high-income neighbor, Canada, and at rates 10 to 44 times
higher than the other high income nations. 

This holiday
weekend marks the 11th anniversary of a tragedy that could have been
avoided. On the Fourth of July weekend in 1999, white supremacist and
anti-Semite Benjamin Smith murdered Northwestern University head
basketball coach Ricky Birdsong and Indiana University graduate student
Wan Joon Yoon, and wounded nine others before committing suicide. Smith
was prohibited from purchasing firearms, and would have been stopped by
a Brady background check if the nation required the checks on every gun
sale. He bought his “Saturday Night Special” handgun from Donald
Fiessinger, a “private seller” who had purchased 65 handguns over two
years from the same Pekin, Illinois gun store, the Old Prairie Trading
Post.

The store remains open, but no longer sells firearms.  The
owner and his customer, Fiessinger, were indicted on gun trafficking
charges, pled guilty and served jail time.

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“We make it too
easy for dangerous people, like Benjamim Smith, to get dangerous guns,”
said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center.  “And we haven’t
closed the loophole that allowed this to happen 11 years later - the
loophole that says if you buy a gun from a private seller, you don’t
have to pass a background check.”

Background information about the statistics, sourcing data, and copies of the poster can be printed here: http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts?s=2.

The Brady Center believes that the U.S. Congress should extend Brady criminal background checks to all gun sales, particularly those at gun shows.  On this July 4th, its leaders call on elected officials in Congress to pass gun show loophole legislation (S. 843 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 2324 in the U.S. House.)

 

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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.

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