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2021 Year in Review: Top 10 Victories in the Movement to End Gun Violence


As we all prepare to kick off 2022, please join us in celebrating these gun violence prevention victories we accomplished over the past year.

In 2021, America continued to see record-breaking gun sales, soaring levels of gun violence, and unprecedented attacks on our nation’s gun laws and public safety. But thanks to the support of dedicated grassroots supporters like you, we won landmark victories in Congress, courts, and communities to prevent gun violence and save lives.

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1. We Helped Move Landmark Gun Violence Prevention Legislation with Congress and the White House

We helped advance seven life-saving bills in the U.S. House and an entire slate of gun violence prevention executive orders with the Biden-Harris administration. In fact, the Biden-Harris administration enacted more gun violence executive orders in their first year compared to any other administration’s inaugural year.

We made history in 2020 by helping elect the strongest gun violence prevention majorities in the House, Senate, and White House. In 2021, we wasted no time addressing and advancing comprehensive, bipartisan solutions to address gun violence in all its forms. Alongside gun violence prevention champions like Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. James Clyburn, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Lucy McBath, and more, we helped advance seven life-saving bills in the U.S. House that will address America’s gun violence epidemic and save lives.

    We didn't stop there. As NRA-backed senators block progress and use the filibuster to gridlock vital bills, we've worked alongside the Biden-Harris administration to bypass these partisan obstacles.

    We crafted a robust agenda of recommended executive actions that President Biden could enact to reduce gun violence. Biden quickly enacted our suggested executive actions. And just recently, the Biden-Harris administration once again followed our recommendations, announcing three more executive orders to prevent gun suicide in America. We are proud to have helped the Biden-Harris administration enact more gun violence executive orders in their first year compared to any other administration’s inaugural year.

      "No one should know the pain of losing a child to a gun. We can and must do better."

      Echoing @fred_guttenberg testimony at today's @HouseJudiciary hearing. No parent should ever experience the devastating pain of losing a child to gun violence. Congress must act. pic.twitter.com/5Vm8LqbRi5

      — Kris Brown | President, bradyunited.org (@KrisB_Brown) May 20, 2021

      2. We Won Stronger Gun Laws in States Across the Country

      At the state-level, we helped expand background checks, stop the flow of crime guns, prevent guns at polling places, and more. Already, these life-saving new laws serve as a federal blueprint for gun violence prevention on the national level.

      Even when Congress is gridlocked, we can continue to move solutions in states and local communities across the country. In 2021, with the leadership of Brady’s state policy team and support from our grassroots chapters, we passed common-sense gun reform laws across the country. Through lobbying, testifying, and mobilizing our on-the-ground grassroots activists, we won these major victories and more:

      Join a Brady Chapter Near You

      3. We Banned Untraceable “Ghost Guns” and Filed the Nation’s First Civil Lawsuits Against the Ghost Gun Industry

      We banned ghost guns in New York and Nevada, passed local ghost gun bans in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Diego, and drove thousands of public comments in support of Biden's proposed federal rule to regulate these homemade firearms.

      It’s simple: If you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to build a gun in your basement. But homemade, untraceable “ghost guns" are specifically designed to evade gun laws. It’s why they are a growing murder weapon of choice in America. In fact, these weapons made many tragic headlines in 2021, including a 13-year-old boy who made ghost guns, one of which he used to kill his sister.

      Fortunately, throughout 2021, we won major state, local, and federal progress toward banning ghost guns for good. Stephan Abrams, a minor and Team ENOUGH Executive Council member, showed just how easy it is to go online and purchase the parts needed to build a ghost gun. His video has been utilized by media and state legislators across the country.

      In the courts, we filed the nation’s first civil lawsuits against the ghost gun industry. In McFadyen v. Ghost Gunner, Inc., we are proud to represent the victims of the 2018 mass shooting in Rancho Tehama, CA, in which a gunman used two AR-15-style ghost guns in a shooting spree that killed five people and injured 11 others, targeting pedestrians in their cars and children in their school. We allege that the gunman was legally barred from owning guns and should have never been able to obtain the murder weapons. Brady and our legal partners are determined to hold the gun industry accountable and finally find justice for the victims and families of this massacre.

      Read more about this case in our exclusive in the Associated Press

      We also fought hard in New York and Nevada, as bills banning ghost guns and the unregulated parts and kits used to make them were signed into law. And where the state did not take action, we continued our life-saving work on the local levels. Led by Brady California, we made history in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Diego by helping pass the first local ordinances to ban ghost guns on the local level.

      Lastly, on the federal level, we mobilized a national campaign to drive support for President Biden’s proposed rule for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to regulate ghost guns. Americans had 90 days to submit their feedback on the proposal. To little surprise, the NRA launched an aggressive campaign to oppose the regulation. Thanks to our grassroots supporters like you, we drove nearly 6,000 messages in support of President Biden's policy measure. Together, we succeeded in illustrating a groundswell of support for this common-sense solution, which would be the nation’s first federal ghost gun regulation. As we await word from the ATF for a federal ghost gun regulation, we are proud to have made lasting progress in states and communities across the country.

      Brady staff and activists join Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Catherine Stefani as a local ordinance to ban ghost guns in San Francisco is signed into law.

      4. We Exposed How the ATF Lets Irresponsible Gun Dealers Off the Hook — at the Expense of American Lives

      Our jaw-dropping findings spurred national demands to reform the ATF.

      This spring, we exposed the jaw-dropping lethal mismanagement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the federal agency that enforces our nation’s gun laws. Through an exclusive investigation published by USA Today and the Trace, we revealed never-before-released federal gun store inspection reports obtained through our years of filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and fighting in court. The findings were shocking: Even when gun dealers knowingly break the law, they are often given a slap on the wrist by the ATF. As a result, irresponsible gun dealers stay in business, and cycles of illegal gun sales and violence continue.


      In 2022, we’ll be deepening this investigative work with the launch of our Gun Store Transparency Project. Our interactive map will allow the public, advocates, researchers, and policymakers alike the ability to browse the most comprehensive federal gun store inspection records ever made available to find cited violations among gun stores across the country.


      5. Brady Legal Fought in the Supreme Court for Americans’ Right Not to Be Shot and Took on the Gun Industry on Behalf of Gun Violence Victims

      This was Brady Legal’s most active year in our 40-year legacy.

      In 2021, we filed new cases on behalf of victims and survivors of high-profile mass shootings, held negligent gun dealers accountable, defended our gun laws against the multi-billion dollar gun industry, and filed 13 amicus briefs in federal and state courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. Here are some of the highlights of how we’re holding the gun industry accountable in court.

      Donate to support Brady Legal's life-saving work in 2022!

      6. Brady Colorado Passed Proactive Gun Violence Prevention Legislation that Has Made Colorado A Model for the Country

      We are proud to have instituted life-saving legislation to protect Colorado communities.

      Especially following the tragic mass shootings at Columbine High School and an Aurora movie theater, Coloradans have persistently called for common-sense gun violence prevention policies. In 2021, this work was even more emboldened after Coloradoans suffered several devastating mass shootings, including the March 2021 mass shooting at a Boulder grocery store that killed 10 people and a deadly mass shooting in Colorado Springs in May. We hit the ground running to ensure action was taken in the wake of these tragedies — and we won major progress. Under the leadership of our new Vice President of Organizing Maisha Fields — a native Coloradoan and survivor of gun violence — we officially launched our Brady Colorado chapter. Working on the ground, we were instrumental in passing proactive laws that have made Colorado a national model for gun violence prevention.

      We fiercely advocated for three pieces of legislation that would prevent tragedies like those in Boulder and Colorado Springs, including expanding the waiting period for background checks, empowering localities to enact their own gun safety laws, and establishing a state-wide office dedicated to preventing gun violence. We testified, lobbied, and drove waves of support for these lifesaving bills, helping them advance through the state legislature. This summer, we declared victory when Gov. Jared Polis signed all three bills into law.

      Join A Brady Chapter Near You

      7. We Partnered with Parkland Dad Fred Guttenberg to Bring More Dads into the National Movement to End Gun Violence

        Fred Guttenberg has dedicated his entire life to fighting to end gun violence since his daughter, Jaime, was shot and killed at her high school in Parkland, FL.

        In 2018, Fred Guttenberg’s daughter, Jaime Guttenberg, was one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL. Tragically, Fred is not alone. According to one study, a child or teen is killed with a gun every 2 hours and 34 minutes in this country, in addition to everyday gun violence, suicide, and more.

        To show our support for Fred and fathers across the country, we joined him in launching a national movement, #DadsForGunSafety, on Father’s Day to unite dads to end gun violence.

        We know that fathers can play an integral role in the gun violence prevention movement: Men are more likely to be the perpetrators of gun violence; men are more likely to be the ones to die by gun suicide; men are more likely to be gun owners. Our call for action resonated with fathers across the country. Our petition garnered the support of nearly 6,000 fathers and our open letter received nearly 150 signatures from those like major film director Judd Apatow, actor Bryan Cranston, lead vocalist of Coldplay Chris Martin, former Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack, and more. We united democrats, republicans, gun owners, and non-gun owners alike, underscoring that the majority of Americans — despite their political affiliation and background — want sensible gun laws.

        Sign Our Petition Today
        Watch Fred find common ground on gun reform with former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh.

        8. We Launched “Service Never Stops,” a Veteran-Centered Campaign to Prevent Gun Suicide in America

        America’s deadliest shootings are the ones we rarely talk about: Over half of all gun deaths are suicides. This crisis has an outsized impact on the veteran community, with 63 veterans dying by suicide each day.

        But in 2021, we united the veteran community to address this out-sized crisis facing the veteran community, helping steer the national conversation on how to prevent gun suicide through our new “Service Never Stops” national PSA campaign.

        “Service Never Stops” featured four veterans, Chris Jachimie, Charles Tawiah, Shay DeBarr, and Tommy Anderson, who collectively served over 40 years in the military. The series showcases their personal experiences with gun suicide and safe gun storage, encouraging their fellow veterans to store their firearms securely to protect themselves and their loved ones. Directed and produced by creative teams that included veterans, our PSA series raises awareness about the risks of “family fire,” a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun in the home.

        “Being a female Marine was the best thing I’ve ever done with my life because it allowed me to serve my country and continue to serve other Veterans and military spouses to this day. And part of that service is storing your guns safely. It’s paramount if you own a gun, you should store it safely.”

        — Shavon “Shay” Debarr

        Leading up to Veteran’s Day, our “Service Never Stops Campaign” reached over 38 million Americans on Facebook, primarily those in the veteran and gun-owning community. The veterans part of our campaign were also featured in local media outlets across the country, including ABC News Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Tribune, the San Diego Tribune, Living Better in San Diego, and KXTP Radio in Las Vegas. And that’s not it: You can expect to hear “Service Never Stop” radio advertisements on your local channels, and you’ll see billboards, bus stop signs, and more in states across the country (if you see any of our campaign assets in your community, please take a photo and tag us on social media)!

        We are proud to have helped steer the national conversation on how to protect our nation’s veterans and prevent gun suicide. The End Family Fire program is the only national group that focuses on — and teaches — how safe gun storage can prevent gun suicide. If we want to end gun violence, we must address gun suicide in America, and it must be done alongside veterans like Chris, Shay, Charles, and Tommy!

        Spend the holidays listening to our podcast!

        Activists, survivors, academics, politicians, and more unite to discuss our country's long-standing love for guns, the positive and negative effects of that love, and the political, educational, and cultural efforts Brady is leading to end gun violence.

        9. We Mobilized Gun Violence Prevention Activists to Demand the Senate End the Filibuster!

        The filibuster is lethal, so in 2021, we fought back.

        We launched “The Filibuster Is Killing Us,” a Brady survivor-led campaign that calls on the Senate to end the filibuster to pass life-saving gun violence prevention legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans support. Because the tragic reality is that, even amidst a raging gun violence epidemic, the filibuster continues to block Congress from passing bipartisan, life-saving gun safety solutions.

        Our campaign features three gun violence survivors: Brady Vice President of Policy Christian Heyne, Vice President of Development Liz Dunning, and Vice President of Organizing Maisha Fields, who understand the lethal impact of the filibuster. Since the murders of their loved ones, year after year, they’ve watched Congress fail to pass any meaningful gun reform bills. And they’re not alone: Even after massacres at Sandy Hook, Parkland, and many more, the filibuster has gridlocked the U.S. Senate from passing legislative solutions.

          Watch our video!

          But we refuse to let an archaic Senate rule stop us from saving lives. Already, our campaign has been seen by over 529,000 Americans, and they agree: It’s time to end the filibuster. In 2022, we will continue to push Congress to end the filibuster to help save as many lives as possible.

          Here are three ways you can help Brady end the filibuster:

          Watch Our Video
          Tell Your Senators: End the Filibuster
          Listen to our podcast episode about the filibuster

          10. We Empowered and Mobilized Young People With “My Last Will”

          Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for American youth. And every day, 22 kids and teens are shot. Our youth are growing up in fear of getting shot and killed at school, the movies, the mall, and in their own homes and neighborhoods.

          So, we partnered with our friends at Change the Ref to do something shocking to demand action: Launch a national campaign for teens to write their “last wills and testaments” if we were killed by gun violence, and then to send them to their senators to demand urgent action to prevent gun violence. Visit mylastwill.us now to read youth wills, watch and listen to their stories, and fight for their futures and livelihoods.

          Watch our video.


          Support Brady's Life-Saving Work in 2022

          We have ambitious goals to ensure federal action from the White House, bolster our victories across the states, and mobilize more youth and grassroots activists to join our movement. But we can’t do it without you! For a limited time, donate now and your gift will be DOUBLED!
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