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The Brady Campaign
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At a federally licensed dealer the American citizen must fill out a form and wait 8-9 minutes
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The Brady Bill was pushed by Jim and Sarah Brady. Jim Brady was President Reagan's Press Secretary after Reagan was elected in 1980. On March 31, 1981 there was an assassination attempt on President Reagan here in Washington, D.C. Jim Brady was with him at the time, and of course John Hinckley, the shooter wounded President Reagan very seriously and wounded Jim Brady even more seriously. And as a result, Jim Brady has been in a wheelchair most of the 26 years since then and has suffered the consequences of this assassination attempt on the President. As a result, he and his wife Sarah started pushing for more regulation on access to guns. And over about a 7 or 8 year period, pushed for what became the Brady Bill, went through a lot of pushes to try to get it through Congress. Finally, in 1993, it passed the United States Congress, was signed by President Clinton, and then went into effect in 1994.
The history of the Brady Bill is, first of all, to start checking the record's to see whether someone trying to get a gun from a federally, licensed dealer, falls within one of the prohibited categories from the 1968 Gun Control Act. And, there was a phase in period over about four years while the National Instacheck Database was set-up. So, at the start there was a waiting period, so federally licensed dealers could check the records. Since 1998, basically, there's been a federal instacheck system, where someone could go into a federally, licensed dealer, fill out the application to buy a gun, and within seven or eight minutes the dealer, usually, will get an all clear on the individual, allowing them to buy the gun What that means is the person hasn't shown up on the list as being a felon or being dangerous to themselves or others because of mental illness. The system has been very effective. It's stopped approximately 1.4 million people from buying guns legally from a licensed dealer. And to me, that shows that the Brady background check system has been a very effective system. However, it's only as strong as the data that's in it. The Virginia Tech killer, for example, should not have been allowed to buy a gun. He had been adjudicated mentally ill, a danger to himself or others because of mental illness. But, those records were not sent by the state of Virginia into the Instacheck System, so he got through that system. But it stopped 1.4 million people from buying guns legally and I think that shows that background checks established by the Brady Bill have been effective and are important.
I think the dedication of Sarah Brady and Jim Brady over the years has really helped put the Brady campaign in the forefront of the groups that are out here fighting for common sense restrictions on guns and in fighting to reduce gun violence in this country. The personal story of Jim Brady being shot at the same time as Ronald Reagan honestly ties the effort into a specific incident. The fact that this was a Republican President and his Republican Press Secretary shows that it's not the partisan issue. The number of years that it took to get the bill passed shows the dedication of the Bradys and in the work that the Brady campaign did. The fact that the bill was then named after Jim Brady, the Brady background checks, I think has helped give a face and visibility and a story line to the Brady campaign. I'm honored to be a part of that tradition and I'm trying to push to make sure we go even further in terms of making our communities and our country safer.
The Brady Bill means that when the average citizen goes to a federally licensed dealer to buy a gun they need to fill out a form and then it takes about eight minutes for the federally licensed dealer to do the computer check. As long as the person has no felony record and is not a prohibited person, it means they've had to wait eight maybe nine minutes to get the gun.
Brady bill is still in effect. Brady bill has effectively stopped 1.4 million people from buying guns legally in this country. We're pushing to strengthen the Brady bill by making sure that more records of prohibited persons are in the Federal database, so that people like the Virginia Tech killer won't be able to buy a gun legally. We also want to make sure that the Brady bill is extended to apply to all sales of guns, so that we make it even harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons in this country.
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