Brady Survivors, Grassroots Activists, and Supporters Helped Drive Record Public Support for this Finalized ATF Rule, Which Will Bring America as Close as Possible to Universal Background Checks Until Congress Takes the Necessary Legislative Action.

Washington, D.C., April 11, 2024 – Today, the Biden administration announced a final rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which will ensure that a large number of private gun sellers, who for too long have operated outside the regulatory authority of ATF, must become licensed dealers and conduct background checks. The rule closes the dangerous “gun show loophole” and “online sale loophole,” which are massive and growing deadly gaps in the Brady Background Check system, contributing to approximately 1 in 5 guns being sold with no background check. This rule, drafted following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, is the most significant measure to strengthen the Brady Background Check System since the passage of the Brady Bill, but Congress must still take the final step of passing a law to ensure that all final gaps in the background check system are addressed.

Brady, the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention group, applauds this major progress in expanding our namesake Brady Background Check system, a legacy that continues to save lives every day since its enactment 30 years ago. To date, Brady Background Checks have blocked nearly 5 million prohibited gun transactions, and countless lives have been saved as a result. For example, states that require background checks on all handgun sales have less than half as many mass shootings. It was the first recommendation in Brady’s report (released in advance of the 2020 Presidential Election) titled, “Leading with Action: Addressing Gun Violence With Executive Authority.” In 2022, Brady, in collaboration with Giffords, released a memo urging ATF to clearly define who is considered engaged in the business of selling firearms under the changes made in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, illustrating that a historical lack of clarity meant private sellers could sell numerous firearms every single year without licensure, regulation or restriction.

Brady survivors, grassroots activists, and supporters were a driving force in the record-setting comments submitted to the government in support of the proposed rule, generating the most public support ever filed for a firearm-related federal rule in at least a decade, and demonstrating the power of individuals across this country who are part of the gun violence prevention movement to save lives.

Kris Brown, president of Brady, said:

“Under current law, private gun sellers aren’t required to be licensed or conduct background checks. Unless you live in a state with expanded background checks, anyone can visit a gun show or go online and simply buy a firearm from an unlicensed private seller, no questions asked and no background check required. This is the so-called “gun show/online loophole.” To be clear, that “gun show loophole” has been a death sentence for countless Americans, and that will change with this action. We already know that upwards of 90% of Americans, including the majority of gun owners and NRA members, agree we should expand Brady Background Checks. This rule will save lives by ensuring those who engage in the business of selling firearms are taking the necessary precautions we require of all other licensed gun sellers. In doing so, we can mitigate the proliferation of firearms in our communities and keep weapons out of the hands of those most at risk of harm.
Today, 30 years after gun owners and longtime Republicans Jim and Sarah Brady helped pass the Brady Bill, I am heartened by this historic action to bolster their lasting legacy. It is important to remember that this rule was drafted as a result of the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed with 15 Republican votes in the Senate and 14 in the House of Representatives. It’s proof that we can take action, not sides, and bring solutions to our uniquely American plague of gun violence.
I am elated that President Biden continues to deliver on his promise to represent the will of the people and make progress to free America from gun violence. I urge Congress to follow suit and pass universal background checks without delay.”

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