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Q: Government Issues ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Government Issues
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: fc225-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 08 Dec 2003 17:28 PST
Expires: 07 Jan 2004 17:28 PST
Question ID: 285101
What is the Brady Bill? Is it too strong or too weak?? What do the
Democrats and Republicans think about this??
Subject: Re: Government Issues
Answered By: mvguy-ga on 12 Dec 2003 10:19 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The "Brady Bill" might more properly be called the "Brady Law,"
because it was enacted by Congress.  It is known more properly as The
Brady Handgun Control Act or Public Law 103-159.

You can find the full text of the law here:

The Brady Handgun Control Act (complete text)

As laws go, this one is fairly straightforward. Basically what it does
is require background checks for people purchasing guns from licensed
arms dealers.

Here's a summary of what the law does from the organization that
developed the law and supports strengthening it:

The Brady Law: Preventing Crime and Saving Lives
"Prior to the enactment of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
(Brady Law) in 1993, most states did not require background checks of
gun purchasers so there was no way for gun sellers to know whether
customers were lying about their backgrounds. The Brady Law, which
went into effect on February 28, 1994, changed this by requiring
federally-licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) to check with law
enforcement before selling a firearm. Since 1994, the Brady Law has
stopped more than 600,000 criminals and other prohibited people from
purchasing firearms from FFLs. Because the law only applies to FFLs,
there are still many gun sales by unlicensed, so-called "private
sellers," that are not subject to a background check."

That page also gives a much more complete description of how the law works.

Of course, whether the law is too strong or two weak is a matter of
opinion.  In my personal opinion (which may or may not be the opinion
of the powers that be at Google), the main drawback of the law is that
it regulates only federally licensed dealers, so I believe it needs to
be stronger. Most of the political debate in recent years has focused
on the extent to which the law should be applied to other dealers,
particularly those who sell at gun shows.

Information on other shortcomings in the present law can be found on this page:

Issue Briefs and Q&A's

As you might expect, there are those on the other side. Here is an
examination of the Brady Law from the National Rifle Association:

The "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act": Does It Live Up To Its Name?
" But the more important question is whether the law accomplishes its
stated objective: the 'prevention' of 'handgun violence.' For many
reasons, it does not."

In general, Democrats have been seeking to strengthen the Brady Law.
On the Republican side, there doesn't seem to be much of an effort to
repeal the law, since it pretty well seems to be accepted as a fixture
of American life. But neither has there been a groundswell of GOP
efforts to strengthen it.

Here is a summary of the party positions:

Gun Control vs. Gun Rights
"Historically, the debate over gun control has generally divided
Democrats and Republicans along party lines. Thus, it?s no surprise
that GOP lawmakers, chief opponents of new gun laws, were the primary
recipients of contributions from the National Rifle Association and
other gun rights groups. Democrats traditionally have led the charge
for stricter gun measures ? a fact reflective in the contributions
they receive from gun control advocates. However, there are prominent
members of both parties who cross partisan lines."

I hope this fully answers your question.



Search strategy:

Google search term: "brady law"

Google search term: "gun control" politics

I also went to the NRA site ( and searched using
the term "brady."
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