This special collection brings together evidence and insights from nonprofits, foundations, and research organizations working to understand the full impact of firearm use and gun violence in the US. By providing us with analyses of current state and federal laws as well as valuable data on suicides, homicides, accidents, and mass shootings, these organizations seek to inform sound public policy and to curb this ongoing public health epidemic.

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"Gun Violence" by M+R Glasgoz is licensed under CC 2.0

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America’s Background Check System  and Ways to Improve It

March 2, 2018

In the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, and the massacres in Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas in late 2017, the background check system and how it works has once again become the subject of public attention. That system exists because of the tireless work of Jim and Sarah Brady. Congress enacted the Brady background check system despite fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA). This system is the best and greatest defense America has against access to guns by dangerous people. It seems that consensus can be reached on few things in Washington, but this is one where consensus is almost unanimous: 97 percent of Americans believe that the background check system should be fortified.The question before policy makers today is how to best strengthen this system, which has already blocked more than 3 million attempts to buy guns by people barred under law from having them. This report provides those answers, along with some key facts as to why the system needs improvements and the fixes that address those needs.Real change in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) requires: (1) Closing the legal gaps that today result in at least one in five guns being sold without a background check; (2) providing greater funding to state, tribal, and federal agencies for inputting records into the system; and (3) ensuring state, tribal, and federal agencies take greater responsibility for inputting all relevant records into the system in a timely manner by becoming more directly involved in conducting background checks themselves. Proposals to fix these issues are pending in Congress, or can be adopted by states, and should be brought to consideration in an omnibus fashion to solve these problems immediately and holistically.There's no question it was all worth it.

The Truth about Gun Dealers in America: Stopping the Small Number of "bad Apples" That Supply Virtually Every Crime Gun in the U.S.

October 15, 2015

More than 400,000 people are victimized by gun violence in the United States each year. How is it so easy for dangerous people to get guns? Where do all of these guns come from? It turns out that virtually all crime guns come from a relatively small number of gun dealers that we call "bad apple" gun dealers. Just 5 percent of gun dealers in the U.S. sell 90 percent of crime guns, and they often do it with business practices that they know are irresponsible or even illegal. "Bad apple" dealers not only supply almost the entire U.S. criminal market with its guns, they give a bad name to the 86 percent of dealers who sell no crime guns in a given year. This report explains what "bad apple" gun dealers are, how they contribute to gun violence in America, and how they can be stopped. It provides information about the extent of the problem, including that there are roughly 3,000 "bad apple" gun dealers in the country (Section II). It makes clear that factors like sales volume and bad luck are not accurate or sufficient explanations for why such a small percentage of gun dealers supply so many of the guns used in crime.Using examples, the report identifies three major pathways of guns from "bad apple" gun dealers to dangerous and high risk people. These are: straw purchasing (people passing background checks but illegally buying guns for others); gun trafficking (people buying guns to illegally resell without a license); and illegally selling or otherwise providing guns "off the books" (dealers transferring guns without running federally required Brady background checks on buyers) (Section III). The report provides accounts of some of the top crime gun sellers in the country, who have collectively supplied thousands of guns used in crime over the years. In particular, it highlights three dealers and their disproportionate contribution to crime in three cities: Chuck's Gun Shop and Pistol Range and Chicago; Don's Guns and Galleries and Indianapolis; and Arrowhead Pawnshop and New York (Section IV). It also details the stories of gun violence victims whose pain and suffering was caused by irresponsible gun dealers' practices, discussing how the toll goes beyond individuals and is felt by families, friends, coworkers, and communities (Section V). The violence enabled by "bad apple" gun dealers can manifest as gang violence, domestic violence, hate crimes, or attacks on law enforcement. Specific case studies illustrate how victims and survivors have fought back against "bad apple" gun dealers through the courts. The work of the Brady Campaign and a diverse coalition of national and local partners have organized to put public pressure on "bad apple" gun dealers.

Expanding Brady Background Checks To Internet Gun Sales In Oregon: Why Brady Background Checks Work And Why It's Time For Oregon To Finish The Job

July 26, 2015

A new Brady report shows how dangerous loopholes allow criminals to buy guns easily online without a background check. This report demonstrates why Brady background checks on gun purchases are an effective policy that prevents gun crime and saves lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people prohibited from owning guns. It also makes the case for why Oregon needs to pass legislation to close the "Internet loophole" by expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales. Every year, gun violence kills more than 400 Oregonians. From 2004 to 2013, more than 4,000 people were killed with guns. This means that, on average, somebody is killed in Oregon with a gun every 21 hours.

Policy Recommendations & Models

20 Years of Brady Background Checks: The Case for Finishing the Job to Keep America Safer

February 1, 2014

It was 20 years ago that Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. As a result of this landmark law, criminals can no longer simply lie about their record and buy guns; now, federally licensed gun dealers must check the buyer's background to make sure that he or she is not prohibited from possessing guns. We knew that Brady background checks would save lives. And we now have 20 years of proof that Brady background checks work.Since the Brady law went into effect on February 28, 1994, background checks have stopped more than 2.1 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers including convicted felons, domestic abusers, fugitives from justice, and other dangerous individuals.Make no mistake: Countless lives have been saved, and crimes have been prevented thanks to the Brady law.However, more needs to be done. Under current federal law, background checks are only required when someone attempts to purchase a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer. But federal law allows unlicensed persons to sell guns without a background check, no questions asked. To avoid background checks in today's world, convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers now buy weapons from unlicensed sellers at gun shows and through Internet websites, like 2013, in the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Congress considered legislation to expand background checks on all commercial or advertised gun sales. Despite the fact that nine in ten Americans support expanded background checks, the U.S. Senate failed to pass new legislation. While the bill received a majority of votes, itwas not enough to break a filibuster. Forty-five Senators -- forty-one Republicans and four Democrats -- defied the near unanimous will of the American people and sided with the corporate gun lobby.

Policy Recommendations & Models

2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter

January 23, 2014

State gun laws fill enormous gaps that exist in our nation's federal laws, and help to reduce gun violence and keep citizens safe. In part because these laws help to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and aid law enforcement in solving gun crimes, many of the states with the strongest gun laws also have the lowest gun death rates. Because state laws differ widely, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have teamed up to evaluate and compare the laws of all fifty states, as they have both done in years past. Together, we have ranked all fifty states based on thirty policy approaches to regulating guns and ammunition, such as background checks on gun sales, reporting lost or stolen firearms, and prohibiting dangerous people from purchasing weapons.States received points for having effective laws in each policy area, with stronger laws receiving more points. States lost points for irresponsible measures that increase the likelihood of gun violence, such as laws that allow individuals to carry loaded, concealed weapons in public without a permit. Ultimately, every state was awarded a letter grade indicating the overall strength or weakness of its gun laws.Because so many states enacted strong new laws in 2013, several states received a higher grade than in past rankings. Thanks to new laws enacted in 2013, six states' grades improved compared to the Law Center's 2012 publication Gun Laws Matter.

Statistics & Surveys

Major School Shootings in the United States Since 1997

December 17, 2012

This is a listing, compiled from newspaper reports, of major school shootings in the United States since 1997.

Statistics & Surveys

Guns in Sports: How Guns Have Affected the Athletic Community & What It Tells Us About America's Gun Violence Crisis

July 1, 2012

This report explores how America's gun violence crisis has affected athletes and coaches from MVPs to Little Leaguers, how those incidents are representative of America's gun violence epidemic, and what can be done to prevent gun violence. Gun violence in America affects society at all levels, ages, and professions. This report examines gun violence's impact on one activity -- sports -- as a window into our nation's larger gun problem, to raise awareness, and lead to action that can help save lives. This report includes the stories of National Football League MVP Steve McNair, National Basketball Association MVP Michael Jordan, Major League Baseball Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and Mike Flanagan, Grand Slam tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams, Tour de France bicycling champion Greg LeMond, Olympic gold medal wrestler Dave Schultz, NFL All-Pros Sean Taylor and Junior Seau, MLB Manager Dallas Green, and many others who reached the pinnacle of their sports. Each was touched by gun violence.The sports world is filled with athletes at every level of competition who have been wounded, killed, lost loved ones, or otherwise been victimized by guns -- or who have had their lives changed forever by turning to guns themselves. Entire rosters could be filled with star players who have been adversely affected by guns in some way.Yet the fact that guns killed Sean Taylor, Michael Jordan's father, Serena and Venus Williams's sister, and Dallas Green's nine-year-old granddaughter had nothing to do with their ties to the sports world. They lost their lives because they lived in a country with over 200 million firearms, where inadequate laws make it far too easy for dangerous people to acquire the means to kill. In one decade in America, from 1996 to 2005, there were almost 5 million violent crimes committed with firearms and more than 2 million crime guns recovered and traced by law enforcement. The epidemic of gun violence in the sports world is emblematic of the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. While we may care deeply about the sports figures chronicled in this report because of their athletic skills, their stories resemble those of countless Americans whose athletic careers are limited to recreational leagues or backyard games of catch. This report is intended for the media to consider how America's gun problems affect our society at large, and to examine solutions that can save lives; and for the public to engage in and help solve this crucial public safety issue.

Statistics & Surveys

Reported Crimes and Misdeeds by Concealed Weapons License and Permit Holders

November 25, 2009

The gun lobby claims that only ìlaw-abiding citizensî have concealed weapons licenses or permits. From that assumption, the gun lobby argues that having more people carrying loaded, concealed firearms makes society "safer." Both claims are false.Studies by reputable academics who study this problem have discovered, "[T]he weight of the evidence is now firmly behind those who have found that right-to-carry laws do not reduce, and may even increase, the overall level of crime." The following incidents -- specific events described in our nation's newspapers -- involve crimes or misdeeds reportedly at the hands of people licensed to carry concealed weapons. It is important to note, however, that these incidents represent only a fraction of the total number of dangerous and deadly incidents involving concealed carry licensees. This is the case because a suspect's status as a concealed carry permit-holder is often not reported by law enforcement or the media, and also because such information is steadily becoming less available to the public due to gun lobby intimidation.

Statistics & Surveys