Background Checks | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Background Checks

Background checks can keep guns out the hands of dangerous people. It's time to Finish the Job.

Signed into law in 1993, the Brady Bill put in place criminal background checks at federally licensed dealers designed to prevent dangerous people from purchasing guns.

What is a Brady background check?

When an individual goes to a retailer to purchase a firearm, the retailer contacts the FBI to run a background check on each gun purchaser. The FBI checks the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to see if they are a prohibited purchaser. Prohibited purchasers include felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. Simply put, the effective Brady Law prevents guns from getting into the hands of dangerous people.

Since taking effect in 1994, the law has blocked more than 3 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers including felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals.

The bottom line: background checks work. But today, experts estimate that 1 out of 5 gun sales occur in “no questions asked” transactions that often take place over the Internet or at gun shows where, in most states, background checks are not required. This dangerous loophole puts thousands and thousands of guns in the hands of dangerous people like domestic abusers, felons and the dangerously mentally ill.

What is being done about the gun sales not subjected to Brady background checks?

Unchecked sales occur at gun shows across the country and over the Internet every single day. Current legislation (H.R. 3411) pending in the U.S. House of Representatives would solve this problem by expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales including sales made over the Internet and at gun shows The Brady Campaign isn’t waiting for Congress to act. Since 2013, six states have passed new laws expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales. This is tremendous momentum ultimately Congress won’t be able to ignore the will of the people as more and more states act.

This is unprecedented momentum across the country. Most recently, Oregon and Washington expanded Brady background checks to all gun sales, and in 2016 both Nevada and Maine citizens will cast their votes to expand Brady background checks. After Maine and Nevada, there are 14 more states that where we can pass ballot initiatives to expand Brady background checks to all gun sales.

Take Action Now

91% of Americans support Brady background checks. Join them and tell Congress it's time to Finish the Job by expanding Brady background checks and making this the safer nation we all deserve.

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