This month, we are excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Brady Law. America now has 20 years of indisputable proof that Brady background checks work, and we take great pride in the many lives that have been saved over the past two decades. Since the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was signed into law, over 2 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers have been stopped in the U.S.
Sadly, there are several other important anniversaries that emphasize how far we still have to go in our work to prevent gun violence in America. It has been just over a year since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School…. Just four months since our nation witnessed another violent school shooting in Sparks, Nevada…. And it has been less than a dozen weeks since a troubled student armed with a shotgun and Molotov cocktails walked into Arapahoe High School in Colorado and took the life of a fellow student.
These tragedies and so many more could be prevented if we could keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place. Brady background checks have proven to be an effective way to achieve this goal, stopping millions of guns from ending up in the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, mentally ill, and other dangerous individuals.
But times have changed, and new ways of dodging background checks and exploiting loopholes in gun laws have emerged since the Brady Law was first enacted. These days, dangerous people have 24-7 access to guns over the Internet from websites like Armslist.com, and at the many gun shows all across the nation, and can often make gun purchases without having to pass a Brady background check. Unfortunately, these avenues for purchasing weapons have contributed to an alarming statistic – in fact, 40% of guns sold in America today are done so without a Brady background check.
One violent school shooting after another. Thirty-two Americans (eight of whom are children and teens) killed every day. Emergency rooms filled with gun assault victims. These are the reasons why, right now, Brady advocates across the nation are making their voices heard and saying “enough is enough.”
Together, we are standing up and demanding our representatives listen to the will of the American people, make saving lives their first priority, and FINISH THE JOB by expanding life-saving Brady background checks to all gun sales, including those made online and at gun shows.
Last year, the United States Senate failed to respond to the Sandy Hook shooting, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of American’s support expanding Brady background checks. It was a cowardly move that we must not let stand. This year, we continue to engage our allies, mobilize grassroots support, and overcome the multi-billion dollar gun lobby that is shaking the resolve of our senators and congresspeople. We will not stop until we’ve followed through on the success of the Brady Law and convinced our elected leaders to FINISH THE JOB.
The upcoming midterm elections in November are our opportunity to make gun safety legislation a prominent issue. We have a real chance to elect champions of this issue and defeat our opponents. We saw this strategy work last year in Virginia, where gun violence prevention advocates swept all three statewide races. I know that we can do it again.
For the victims… for every parent who has lost a child to gun violence… for the 32 people killed with guns in America each day… for supporters like you who know that we as a nation are better than this… I welcome your passion and your voice. It’s about savings lives, and we can’t do it without you.