The Brady Campaign and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has a long and rich history of inspired and strong leadership.
Dr. Mark Borinsky, who had been robbed and nearly killed at gunpoint, founded the organization in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns. Pete Shields became Chairman in 1978 following the murder of his twenty-three-year-old son, Nick, in 1974. The organization was renamed Handgun Control, Inc in 1980.
Jim Brady, who was President Ronald Reagan's press secretary, was shot on March 31, 1981 during the assassination attempt on the President. Jim suffered a serious head wound that left him partially paralyzed for life. Jim and his wife, Sarah, joined the organization in the mid-eighties and have been fighting for sensible gun laws to protect you, your family and your community.
In 2001, the organization was renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in honor of Jim and Sarah Brady for their commitment and courage to make America safer.
Dan Gross, the current President, has been working to prevent gun violence since his brother was shot at the Empire State Building in 1997. He founded the Center to Prevent Youth Violence (originally known as Pax) after his brother was shot. He joined the Brady Campaign and Center in February 2012.
Other Chairs and Presidents who have served the organization include: Charles Orasin, Richard M. Aborn, James A. Guest, Robert J. Walker, the Honorable Michael D. Barnes and Paul Helmke.
- The Brady Campaign releases recommendations to the President's White House Task Force on preventing gun violence, including a call for universal background checks and public health and safety education programs regarding the almost 300 million guns already in the hands of mostly law-abiding citizens.
- Siding with the Brady Center in two head-to-head matches with the gun lobby, the courts rule in favor of common sense gun laws and reasonable accountability for irresponsible gun dealers who supply criminals. The Alaska Supreme Court unanimously reverses a Juneau trial court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the family of Simone Young Kim against the gun dealer who armed Simone’s killer. In a Colorado case in which lawyers for the NRA and Alan Gura for the Second Amendment Foundation faced off against the Brady Center’s legal director and the Colorado Attorney General’s office, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously held that the Second Amendment does not provide a right to carry concealed weapons in public, and upheld Colorado’s carry law.
- Tony and Danny Bennett and Brady Campaign launch a new campaign, "Voices Against Violence" to influence Senate debate on guns. The campaign uses innovative text-to-call technology to connect everyday Americans to their elected officials. Other celebrities join the effort via Twitter, including Paul McCartney, Bono, Alec Baldwin, Gloria Estefan, Snoop Lion, Josh Groban, and Romeo Santos.
- The Brady Campaign memorializes the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings with the "Too Many Victims" campaign. The Campaign partners with victim advocates across the country to organize more than 60 vigils in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Yoko Ono Lennon, widow of slain musician John Lennon, tweets about the campaign to her millions of followers.
- After weeks of public uproar over the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and two days after the Brady Campaign brings 32 gun violence victims to Washington, DC to lobby Congress on the anniversary of the April 16, 2007 VA Tech shooting, Senator Dianne Feinstein puts a hold on NRA bills to weaken state laws on the carrying of loaded hidden handguns across state lines.
- The We Are Better Than This campaign is launched in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting to focus attention on the need to change the conversation on guns to saving lives, not political careers.
- In response to a lawsuit filed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on behalf of 11,000 Florida health care providers, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke permanently blocks Governor Scott’s doctor gag rule that restricted doctors from informing patients about the proven risks of guns in the home. The court ruled that the law violates the First Amendment by interfering in protected, truthful speech about the risks of guns in the home.
- At a luncheon hosted by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (ret.) reaffirmed to area lawyers that recent Second Amendment cases, D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, are not a barrier to Congress passing stronger gun laws that would prevent tragedies, such as recent mass shootings. During the follow-up Question-and-Answer session Stevens added, “The fact that Congress doesn’t address it [gun violence], I find mind-boggling, to tell you the truth.”
- Twenty elementary school kids and six teachers are gunned down at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The Brady Campaign releases a letter from over 30 victim families expressing outrage and calling for action.
- A disturbed 22-year old man armed with an assault clip shoots nineteen people at a constituent meeting with U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) at a grocery store in Tucson, AZ. Giffords is shot point blank in the head but survives. The shooter kills United States District Court Chief Judge John Roll, Rep. Giffords's staffer Gabriel Zimmerman, and 4 others.
- Bills are introduced in Congress to ban assault clips holding more than 10 bullets and to extend Brady background checks to all gun sales.
- Virtually all of the over 375 gun lobby and gun criminal challenges to gun laws under the Heller/McDonald interpretation of the Second Amendment fail in the courts.
- Colin Goddard, VA Tech survivor, returns to Blacksburg, Virginia, for a screening of Living for 32. The documentary honors the dead and wounded shot at VA Tech and tells the story of Colin's advocacy to adopt common sense gun laws.
- The Brady Campaign establishes Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence to mobilize the faith community to advocate for common sense gun policies.
- 2 million gun purchases by dangerous and irresponsible people denied since the enactment of the Brady Law
- U.S. Supreme Court releases the McDonald decision applying the Second Amendment to the states. In the decision, the court affirms that the Second Amendment allows for reasonable restrictions on firearms, including who can have them and under what conditions, where they can be taken, and what types of firearms are available.
- The Brady Center files a lawsuit against Badger Guns, a top seller of guns used in crimes in the nation, on behalf of injured Milwaukee police officers Alejandro Arce and Jose Lopez III. The complaint alleges that Badger Guns negligently and unlawfully sold the gun used against the officers to a drug-using gang member days before the November 6, 2007 shooting.
- The Brady Campaign marks the 10th anniversary of the Million Mom March chapters with a dinner in their honor held in Washington, DC. A survey of the chapters at this time concluded that the moms, during their 10 years of volunteer service, distributed more than 1 million ASK brochures to schools, pediatricians, and places of worship.
- The Congressional Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security holds a briefing on a bill to require Brady background checks at gun shows.
- Living for 32 is screened in New York City. The film chronicles the inspirational story of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic mass shooting at Virginia Tech in April 2007.
- Twenty-seven Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who were endorsed by the National Rifle Association are defeated in the fall elections, while only two incumbent Democratic House members who co-sponsored a major gun control bill to require background checks at gun shows lose their re-election bids.
- The Brady Campaign releases a report compiling news reports of mass shootings in the U.S. In 2010, more than 25 people were killed and 225 wounded in 68 mass shootings.
- Brady Campaign Vice President of Law and Policy and Legal Action Project founder Dennis Henigan publishes Lethal Logic, a book debunking NRA arguments on common sense gun policy.
- VA Tech massacre survivor Colin Goddard joins the Brady Campaign as an intern and takes a hidden camera to gun shows across the country to show how easy it is for dangerous people to purchase firearms without a background check.
- The U.S. Senate deals a sharp rebuke to the National Rifle Association by confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court over their opposition. Twelve Senators rated 'A' by the NRA - eight of whom were endorsed by the NRA in their last campaigns - vote to confirm her.
- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joins California Campaign Brady Chapter leaders to celebrate the passage, and his signing, of AB 962, a new law requiring maintenance of purchaser records by handgun ammunition vendors. Local law enforcement can use these records to track down and disarm prohibited persons in possession of illegal ammunition and illegal guns.
- The historic 2008 elections saw the Brady-endorsed Obama-Biden ticket defeat the NRA-endorsed McCain-Palin ticket, even in NRA stronghold states like Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
- Ninety percent of Brady-endorsed candidates won their races at all levels, including former Million Mom Chapter President Jeanne Kirkton.
- U.S. Supreme Court releases Heller decision. In the decision, Justice Antonin Scalia writes that the Second Amendment gives an individual the right to a gun in the home for self-defense, but it is a right that is "not unlimited" and that many gun restrictions are "presumptively lawful."
- The state of West Virginia passes new legislation to require reporting of disqualifying mental illness records to strengthen the Brady background check system. Six additional states - Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania - also pass legislation in 2008.
- The Brady Campaign helps organize remembrance events and rallies honoring the victims of Virginia Tech and all gun violence victims. Actions were held in more than 100 cities and on 50 college campuses calling on Congress to close the gun show loophole.
- The NRA's push to allow guns in schools and on campuses is rejected by all 17 states with bills in 2008, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Brady Campaign, our activists, and allies.
- April 16: Thirty-two people are killed and several more injured at Virginia Tech, in the deadliest school shooting in the history of the United States.
- The Brady Campaign successfully works to pass the NICS Improvement Amendments Act to help prevent tragedies like Virginia Tech. The Act will give states incentives to provide records to the Brady background check system of dangerous people who are already prohibited from buying guns.
- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the Crime Gun Identification Act of 2007 (AB 1471) into law. This new, first-of-its-kind law enforcement investigative tool allows police to solve more gun crimes and apprehend more armed criminals and gang members.
- The U.S. Supreme Court announces it will consider D.C. v. Heller this term. By agreeing to hear the appeal by the District of Columbia in the Parker/Heller case, the U.S. Supreme Court has the chance to reverse a clearly erroneous decision and make it clear that the Constitution does not prevent communities from having the gun laws they believe are needed to protect public safety.
- On the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Reagan and the shooting of Presidential Press Secretary Jim Brady, the Brady Campaign launches the Campaign Against Illegal Guns, a landmark multi-year effort to stop the trafficking of guns from licensed gun dealers into the hands of criminals.
- The Board of Trustees of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center name Paul Helmke, the former three-term Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to lead the organization as President. Former Maryland Congressman Michael D. Barnes is named President Emeritus.
- The Brady Center's Gun Industry Watch produces eight hard-hitting reports showing the gun industry's complicity in the illegal flow of guns to criminals.
- In four US Senate races and five Governors' races, the Brady Campaign took on NRA-backed candidates and our candidates won in all nine races. Overall, 96% of Brady Campaign-endorsed candidates won.
- In memory of their beloved son, Charles and Mary Leigh Blek establish the Matthew Blek Memorial Endowment at the Brady Campaign to support scholarships for grassroots activists to be trained in gun violence prevention advocacy.
- In response to the Brady Center's successes in winning a series of highly significant legal victories for gun violence victims, the NRA-beholden Congress passes the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (CAA), which we had blocked in 2004. The CAA is the gun lobby's attempt to stop our winning litigation efforts and give gun makers and sellers a free ride in our court system.
- The Brady Center launches Gun Industry Watch to systematically expose the movement of guns from gun dealers into the hands of criminals and the complicity of the gun industry in supplying the illegal gun market.
- The Brady Campaign and Illinois allies pass background checks at gun shows to help prevent illegal gun trafficking.
- God Not Guns coalition is launched with a generous grant to the Brady Center to bring together the passionate and powerful voices of the faith community to reduce gun violence.
- The Brady Campaign helps defeat the NRA's top legislative priority, as the Senate votes 90 to 8 against a bill that would have provided immunity from lawsuits for the gun industry.
- The Brady Campaign launches a campaign to renew the assault weapons ban. Activists wave farewell to a 26-foot pink recreational vehicle that will travel the nation and stop in dozens of cities, starting with a visit to the site of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The tour covers at least 20 states and includes stops at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
- President Bush and Congress allow the federal assault weapons ban to expire on September 13, despite a majority of Americans' support for the ban.
- The Brady Campaign exposes the fact that after allowing the assault weapons ban to lapse, Bush collects his payment: the National Rifle Association's endorses his candidacy exactly a month after he broke his 2000 campaign promise to renew the ban.
- Mother's Day 2004 - "Halt the Assault" rally held on the US Capitol Steps to protest Congressional inaction to renew the Assault Weapons Ban set to expire in September. "The Big Pink Rig," tours visits MMM chapters across America to call attention the expiration of the AWB.
- The Brady Center achieves historic victories in three lawsuits brought by victims of gun violence. The settlements yield a record $4.4 million in payments by three gun dealers and gun make Bushmaster Firearms.
- The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announces that its Legal Action Project has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the families of several victims of the D.C.-area sniper against the gun dealer and manufacturer who made it possible for the snipers to terrorize the Washington, D.C. region in the fall of 2002.
- Robert A. Ricker, former Executive Director and Director of Government Affairs of the American Shooting Sports Council, a major gun industry trade association, and former Assistant General Counsel for the National Rifle Association, issues a declaration that provides a unique insider's perspective on the irresponsible actions inside the industry that lead to the illegal trade in firearms.
- The California Assembly approves far-reaching gun control legislation, sponsored by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Million Mom March, that would require handgun manufacturers to redesign new handguns to prevent accidental shootings, effectively establishing a new national safety standard for handgun production.
- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence takes out full-page advertisements in the New York Times criticizing a National Rifle Association-backed bill that would strip gun violence victims of their right to sue reckless gun dealers and manufacturers.
- H&R Block, the nation's largest tax preparation firm, severed a controversial marketing agreement it had entered into with the National Rifle Association. H&R Block's withdrawal from the program came as a result of widespread protests spearheaded by the Alliance for Justice's Gun Industry Watch, and was supported by the Million Mom March, the Brady Campaign and the Mid-Atlantic Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence hails the passage of the "Campaign Finance Reform Bill." The bill restricts campaign contributions known as "soft money" given to national political parties, and prohibits special interest groups from attacking candidates in so-called "issue ads" within 60 days of a general election.
- Sarah Brady's autobiography, A Good Fight, is published.
- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Million Mom March and the Alliance for Justice host a screening of Bowling for Columbine, a documentary by filmmaker Michael Moore. Bowling for Columbine examines fear, violence, and the gun culture in America.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rejects a gun industry challenge to California's assault weapons ban.
- Center to Prevent Handgun Violence launches a new nationwide initiative to encourage attorneys general and other state officials to follow Massachusetts' example and use their consumer protection authority to regulate gun design.
- 20th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and shooting of Jim Brady.
- In honor of Jim and Sarah Brady and their commitment to make America safer from gun violence, Handgun Control is renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence is renamed the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
- Mother's Day 2001 - More than 100 rallies held across the country, calling for sensible gun laws at the state level. Republican Gov. George Pataki joined Democratic U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton to show bi-partisan support at the rally held in White Plains, NY.
- The District of Columbia becomes the 30th jurisdiction to sue the gun industry.
- The White House Press Briefing Room is named in Jim Brady's honor.
- Smith and Wesson becomes the first gun manufacturer to settle with cities and counties suing the gun industry, agreeing to make sweeping changes to its design and distribution practices.
- After two years of court battles, the Attorney General of Massachusetts becomes the first in the nation to use consumer protection powers to regulate guns.
- HCI releases a new television ad featuring video footage of a senior NRA official boasting that, if George W. Bush is elected President, the NRA will be working out of the White House.
- The Million Mom March takes place on Mother's Day. Hundreds of thousands of moms and other supporters gather in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the nation to call on lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws.
- New York City becomes the 32nd city or county to sue the gun industry. CPHV's Legal Action Project now represents 26 of the 32 jurisdictions.
- Two traditionally pro-gun Western states, Colorado and Oregon, overwhelmingly pass statewide referenda to close the gun show loophole. Handgun Control and the Handgun Control Voter Education Fund spend a record $5 million to help defeat 9 of the 12 "Dangerous Dozen" candidates who oppose reasonable gun laws.
- The states of Maryland and New York pass gun control packages, strengthening each state's gun laws.
- In the first-ever statewide referendum on the subject, the voters of Missouri reject an NRA-sponsored proposal that would allow people to carry hidden handguns.
- In the wake of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, the U.S. Senate passes legislation to close the gun show loophole. Unfortunately, similar legislation in the House is defeated and the Senate bill stalls in conference committee.
- In Merrill v. Navegar, CPHV's Legal Action Project achieves the first appeals court ruling that a gun manufacturer can be held liable for negligence leading to the criminal use of a gun.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rejects a gun industry challenge to the federal Assault Weapons Ban.
- California passes the strongest package of gun control bills ever enacted by a state in one year. Measures include consumer product safety standards for all handguns manufactured or sold in the state, requiring state-approved child-safety locks with all guns sold, strengthening the state's ban on assault weapons and limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month.
- CPHV releases On the Front Line, the first comprehensive survey of gun interdiction programs used by law enforcement agencies across the country. The report is designed to be a guide for police departments to assist them with their gun interdiction efforts.
- April: President Clinton expands the federal Assault Weapons Ban to include "copycat" imports.
- Connecticut passes a package of gun control measures to close loopholes in the state's gun laws and enable law enforcement to solve gun crimes.
- Steps to Prevent Firearm Injury in the Home 2 (STOP 2) is launched. STOP 2 broadens the scope of the original STOP program to reach more diverse communities and health care providers in all fields.
- Massachusetts enacts measures to strengthen the state's gun laws, including requiring child safety locks with every new gun sold, a Child Access Prevention law, a ban on junk guns, and requiring safety training for gun purchasers.
- With the assistance of CPHV's Legal Action Project, New Orleans becomes the first public entity to sue the gun industry.
- The people of Florida vote overwhelmingly to allow cities and counties to regulate private sales at gun shows; 11 out of 12 "Dangerous Dozen" candidates who oppose gun control are defeated at the polls.
- The Brady waiting period expires and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System goes into effect. Background checks are extended to long guns such as rifles and shotguns.
- The Centers for Disease Control release a report showing that the firearms death rate of children in the United States is 12 times higher than the firearms death rate of children in 25 other industrialized countries combined.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an attempt by the gun lobby to strike down the Brady background check law.
- Congress passes legislation to prohibit anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense from buying or owning a gun.
- CPHV launches Project Lifeline, a national network of health professionals committed to public education on gun violence prevention.
- In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, the National Rifle Association (NRA) faces intense public scrutiny and widespread criticism for its extremist views against law enforcement. NRA membership drops and President Bush resigns his life membership after it is revealed that the NRA called Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents "jack-booted thugs" in a fundraising letter.
- The Brady Law goes into effect in the 32 states which have no background check system.
- President Clinton signs into law the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which includes the first-ever federal Assault Weapons Ban, banning the future manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons.
- The federal Assault Weapons Ban goes into effect.
- CPHV and the American Academy of Pediatrics launch Steps To Prevent (STOP) Firearm Injury to train doctors to counsel patients and their families about the risks of guns in the home.
- Virginia passes legislation limiting purchases of guns to "one per person per month," in response to increasing evidence that Virginia is a source state of crime guns trafficked up and down the East Coast.
- The Brady Bill, which requires a five-day waiting period and background checks on handgun purchases, is signed into law after a seven-year battle.
- Original Brady bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 30.
- Original Brady bill passes in Senate conference on November 24.
- Original Brady bill passes in House floor vote on November 22.
- Original Brady bill passes in Senate floor vote on November 20.
- Original Brady bill passes in House floor vote on November 10.
- CPHV launches Straight Talk About Risks (STAR), a gun violence prevention program for children, pre-school through high school, and their families.
- Original Brady bill passes in Senate floor vote on June 28.
- Sarah Brady becomes Chair of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.
- Crime bill conference report containing Brady bill passes in House on November 26. Senate fails to pass conference report and the effort dies until the next Congress.
- Brady bill passes as part of a major Crime Bill, in Senate floor vote on June 28.
- Original Brady bill passes in House floor vote on May 8.
- The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence establishes the Legal Action Project to take the fight against gun violence into the courts.
- After a schoolyard massacre in Stockton, California passes the first assault weapons ban in the nation, the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapon Act.
- Florida adopts the nation's first "Child Access Prevention" law, which requires adults to store guns so that they are inaccessible to children or use a device to lock the gun.
- Pete Shields retires as Chair of HCI; Sarah Brady becomes Chair.
- Maryland becomes the first state in the nation to ban the sale of Saturday Night Specials.
- With HCI's support, Congress passes a bill to ban handguns that cannot be detected by airport x-ray machines ("plastic" handguns).
- Original Brady bill fails in House floor vote on September 15. This bill was called the Brady bill, but focused on mandatory waiting periods. In the next Congress, the bill said the mandatory waiting period would be eliminated once a national mandatory felon identification system was put in place, more closely resembling what is now known as the Brady bill.
- Original Brady bill introduced on February 4,
- HCI successfully lobbies Congress to ban armor-piercing, "cop-killer" bullets that can puncture bullet-proof vests worn by police officers.
- Sarah Brady, Jim Brady's wife, joins the fight for sensible gun control laws.
- The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV), an educational outreach organization dedicated to reducing gun violence, is founded as a sister organization to HCI.
- March 30: Jim Brady, press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, is shot and seriously wounded during an assassination attempt on the President.
- The National Council to Control Handguns is renamed Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI).
- Pete Shields becomes Chair of NCCH.
- After the murder of his son, DuPont executive Nelson "Pete" Shields takes a leave of absence from his job to work for NCCH, eventually retiring from DuPont to work for NCCH full-time.
- The National Council to Control Handguns (NCCH) is established by Dr. Mark Borinsky, a victim of gun violence.