Today is the 20th anniversary of the Brady Bill, or the "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act."
Named after Jim Brady, Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was shot during Reagan's assassination attempt, the bill created rules that prohibited the sale of guns to felons, the mentally ill, illegal aliens, drug addicts, fugitives, and people convicted of domestic violence. It was perhaps the single most effective, commonsense measure ever passed in the United States to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them.
Naturally, the NRA vehemently opposed the system, removing the five-day waiting period it imposed, and then challenging the whole measure right up to the Supreme Court (Printz v. United States). They lost, and America won.
In the 20 years since the measure was enacted, the Brady Bill has prevented the sale of around 2 million (!) guns to prohibited people. But there are still significant loopholes. See this video:
The average background check takes only 5 minutes and can be performed by phone or web in most places, so there is no real inconvenience to law-abiding gun owners.
The vast majority of private gun sales, including at most gun shows, require no background check or questions asked -- it's just cash and carry. And if a private seller knowingly sells their gun to a prohibited person, they need only feign ignorance and they are off the hook. It's disgraceful.
See the image at right to see a breakdown of those who were prohibited from sale. Most are convicted felons. Imagine how many of these people turned around and bought guns from a private sale.
It's long overdue for us to finish the job.
91% of Americans support universal background checks for guns, including at least 85% of gun owners. And yet, the NRA still pledges to fight it as much as possible. So who, exactly, are they fighting for? When prohibited people are able to buy guns, the gun manufacturers profit, and more money funnels to the NRA.
Contact your elected officials today, and demand that they finish the job. We need universal background checks for ALL gun sales.