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Brady Law Now 16 Years Old, a Public Safety Success Story

WASHINGTON --- 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

“We 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.

“Sixteen 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

As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is 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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