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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 Glasgow licensed under CC 2.0

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Uncovering the Truth about Pennsylvania Crime Guns

April 27, 2022

Brady has used Pennsylvania's Gun Tracing Analytics Platform and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' (ATF) listing of federal firearm licensees to uncover trends in crime gun trace data — finding that a small number of gun dealers in Pennsylvania appear to be responsible for a large portion of the crime guns recovered by law enforcement in the state.

The Gun Industry’s Advertising: Effective, Deadly, and Actionable

April 7, 2022

The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection has a clear mandate: to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace. But, thus far, the FTC has failed to fulfill this mandate with respect to the gun industry. The FTC is failing consumers, failing our democracy, and failing the millions of Americans who have lost their lives or their loved ones to gun violence. The FTC's inaction has also harmed countless more Americans who must live with the scars, trauma, and emotional and economic damage that America's gun violence epidemic, fomented by the gun industry for profit, has caused. The FTC can and must change this. No industry--regardless of its political clout—should be immune from scrutiny of its marketing and advertising.This Petition, brought by Brady, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ("Giffords Law Center"), and March For Our Lives, in partnership with the FACT Coalition (collectively, "Petitioners"), demands that the FTC exercise its broad investigative and enforcement powers to investigate and regulate the gun industry's advertising practices. As we show, the FTC's inaction has allowed the gun industry to spend decades using unfair and deceptive advertising to sell deadly weapons to an American public that has been falsely led to believe that gun ownership is a safe way to protect their home and family. 

New Jersey Executive Order 83: Preventing Gun Violence through the Power of Procurement

January 11, 2022

State and local executives can — and must — act decisively to ensure that firearm sellers, distributors, and manufacturers adopt safe business practices that prevent guns from being diverted to the illegal market. In 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy did just that when he exercised his procurement powers to issue Executive Order 83 (EO 83), a policy designed to guarantee that firearm industry businesses and financial institutions providing services to the state are committed to gun safety principles. Toward that end, New Jersey state offices sent Requests for Information (RFIs) to the state's firearms and finance vendors to assess their commitment to public safety principles.Brady subsequently submitted open records requests for the vendor responses to these RFIs, and our analysis of their content found that EO 83 was successful both in promoting gun safety and laying a strong foundation for future action on its behalf. The firearms industry responses show how seriously different vendors approach their obligation to minimize the public safety risks posed by guns — information which can be used to better inform the state's procurement decisions. The responses from the finance industry revealed that merely sending an RFI to its members can promote gun safety by giving them good reason to assess their approach to working with the gun industry, educate their executives on gun safety, and even adopt new policies regarding their relationships with gun industry clients.This report shows how EO 83 established a broad foundation for future actions that will further advance the state's commitment to gun violence prevention, providing concrete recommendations to state and local executives around the country who wish to replicate and expand on New Jersey's landmark approach to procurement and gun safety. With the epidemic of gun violence claiming more than 40,000 lives a year, states should focus on measures they can take to promote legal compliance and safe business practices by leveraging their procurement powers — a life-saving, indeed necessary, tool that should be adopted by every state in the nation. This is particularly true in the current national climate, where a few states, such as Texas, are implementing regressive policies that seek to dissuade financial institutions from adopting gun safety strategies. If more jurisdictions follow New Jersey's lead, however, the industry will face mounting pressure to adopt practices that ensure compliance with the law and protect public safety, leading to less gun violence and more saved lives. 

Origin of an Insurrection: How Second Amendment Extremism Led to January 6

January 3, 2022

In January 2020, Brady advocates planned to take part in an annual Martin Luther King Jr. gun violence prevention advocacy event at the Virginia State Capitol, but state officials cautioned wouldbe participants that 2020 would be different: Second Amendment extremists were planning to turn out. Out of caution, Brady cancelled its official participation in the event because an estimated 20,000 individuals from across the country, armed with assault-style rifles and wearing tactical gear, descended on the State Capitol in Richmond, VA. It was a deeply troubling moment for members of the gun violence prevention movement, who saw their First Amendment right to speak and assemble quashed by gun-toting extremists. We did not know then that the events of that day were only a dress rehearsal for far worse to come.On January 6, 2021, Congress was set to certify the results of the 2020 election. But extremists, many of them armed, mounted an insurrection with violent force that resulted in death and injury and nearly derailed Congress' capacity to confirm a president duly elected by the citizens of the United States. For Brady supporters and gun violence prevention advocates, it was both a sickening gut punch and deja vu. Although only one of the four people1 killed on January 6 was shot, the 2021 attack had the same roots as the 2020 Virginia State Capitol unrest: Second Amendment extremism.Second Amendment extremism arises from what's commonly known as the "insurrectionist" construction of the Second Amendment: a false interpretation fomented by extremists, marketed by the gun lobby, and adopted by some mainstream politicians, including the 45th President of the United States. Second Amendment extremism lays the foundation for much domestic unrest and weaponized terror throughout American history, including but not limited to the Oklahoma City Bombing, the armed agitation at the Michigan State Capitol, and yes -- January 6, 2021. Indeed, investigations and firsthand accounts of January 6 show that many of its agitators were armed, ready, and willing to harm lawmakers. Accordingly, officers on duty at the U.S. Capitol that day had credible reasons to fear that many rioters were armed; a number of these officers have since testified before Congress that those fears hindered their ability to control the insurrectionist mob.Yet the common narrative around January 6 often omits the role of Second Amendment extremism. Ignoring the ways in which guns, and gun mythology, fuel domestic extremism in America has been -- and will continue to be -- a deadly error. For these reasons, this report sets out to examine the role U.S. gun culture and policy played in laying the foundation for January 6. If we do not spend time reflecting upon our past, we are doomed to repeat it -- and that we cannot do, because human lives and bedrock civic principles hang in the balance of this understanding and reckoning. At Brady, we have confronted extremism before, and we know that unless we take action, we will face it again.

Beyond Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers

November 1, 2021

In America, firearms are the weapons of choice for domestic violence homicides: In fact, female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a gun than by all other means combined. The lethal connection between firearms and domestic violence calls for immediate action, especially amid national crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic.This updated report, "Beyond the Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers," focuses on the intersections of gun violence and both domestic and intimate partner violence. It provides activists, policymakers, community leaders, and more tangible solutions to address the crises of domestic violence and firearms in America. You can expect to read information and stories — sometimes graphic — concerning domestic violence, including sexual abuse, gun violence, and their effects on different communities.

Combatting Crime Guns: A Supply-side Approach

September 22, 2021

According to the most recently available data, the retail gun dealers responsible for selling the majority of crime guns are a fraction of the total gun industry: about 90% of guns recovered by law enforcement are traced back to just five percent of licensed firearms dealers. Gun tracing enables law enforcement to identify the gun dealers with poor business practices responsible for diverting guns from the regulated market to the criminal market.However, the federal government's oversight of these dealers is limited. From October 2016 to October 2017, federal agents inspected only 11,000 of the more than 130,000 federal firearms licensees ("FFLs") in the United States — and cited over half the inspected FFLs for violations — yet revoked the licenses of less than one percent of them.The key takeaway: The federal government does not adequately ensure that the country's hundreds of thousands of FFLs sell guns lawfully and appropriately. Significant progress against gun trafficking and gun crime will be made only if local and state officials take action.Brady is proud to release "Combating Crime Guns: A Supply-Side Approach," a report that is intended to help state and local elected officials better understand:The issue of crime guns;The supply-side approach to gun violence prevention; andThe various ways a supply-side approach may be implemented at the local level of government.This report can also be used by members of the community as a guide to hold their elected officials responsible for enacting a comprehensive supply-side approach.

Leading with Action: Addressing Gun Violence with Executive Authority

June 8, 2020

In this report, Brady will lay out a blueprint for what kinds of executive action the president can take to protect Americans from gun violence in all its forms. In a new administration — one focused on gun violence prevention solutions, such as those advanced by Vice President Biden — these actions, which could be taken in the first 100 days of office, would immediately begin making a difference in the gun violence epidemic, saving lives it would otherwise claim. The following road map lays out the route an administration thus committed could travel to make those changes happen.

Tools for Social Workers to Prevent Gun Violence: Safe Storage of Guns in the Home, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and Other Methods of Gun Violence Prevention

January 23, 2019

In the 20 years since the mass shooting at Columbine high school in 1999, gun violence has gripped the nation's attention. Between 1999 and 2016, there have been over 572,000 gun-related deaths1 in the United States—an average of 38,800 deaths per year. Of those numbers, 58.85% were suicides and 37.2% were homicides. From a public health and psychosocial standpoint, these statistics cannot and should not be ignored.

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