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“The Time is Right for Action:” Brady Urges Passage of H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, Bills to Expand and Strengthen Background Checks

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2021 - Brady thanks Reps. Mike Thompson and Jim Clyburn for introducing H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, two bills to expand and strengthen the Brady Background Check System and close existing loopholes that allow individuals who should not possess a firearm to purchase one. Brady urges the U.S. House of Representatives to swiftly pass these bills. Overwhelming and bipartisan majorities of Americans support expanding Brady background checks and ensuring that individuals who should not possess a firearm do not acquire one. Today’s introduction comes almost 27 years to the day since the Brady Bill came into effect on February 28, 1994.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 are common-sense bills to expand and strengthen federal Brady background checks and help to ensure that individuals who should not have access to firearms are unable to purchase one. Particularly following a year of record-breaking gun sales and exacerbated gun violence amidst a global pandemic, the need to ensure that every gun sale is conducted safely and that the potential buyer is responsible and fit to possess a firearm. We need action to help stop the violence that claims over 100 lives every day and disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities. These bills would expand background checks to all gun sales and eliminate loopholes like the Charleston Loophole, that allowed a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina to purchase the firearm used to murder nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Since the Brady background system came online, it has stopped over 3 million sales to people who should not have weapons, helping to keep our nation safer. The time is right to build upon this fundamental cornerstone of our nation’s gun violence prevention laws and expand the background check system. Brady thanks Reps. Thompson and Clyburn for leading on this important issue and introducing these common-sense bills, and to the many leaders in Congress who understand this issue to be one about the fundamental human right to live in a society free of the fear of being shot. The time is right for action and we call on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass them without delay. We cannot lose this moment.”

The Team ENOUGH Executive Council shared:

“Our generation has never lived without a federal background check system, yet, we remain subject to daily gun violence while that system remains incomplete. This reality underscores the urgent need to strengthen our background check system and close loopholes such as the Charleston loophole.

While we cannot know for sure, studies indicate that millions of firearms are sold without a background check - a gaping hole in our nation’s gun violence prevention defenses. These bills are the first steps towards a comprehensive approach to preventing gun violence. Together, with comprehensive legislative action, we can stop this epidemic of violence.

We can ensure that all Americans, particularly marginalized communities of color that are disproportionately affected by gun violence and militarized policing, can live in safety from preventable violence.”

About H.R. 8:

This bill makes it unlawful to sell or transfer a firearm in any transaction without a Brady Background Check. This will expand the current Brady Law to every sale or transfer in private sales, subject to the narrow exceptions listed below.

About H.R. 1446:

Currently, federal law allows a “default proceed” whereby a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL) can transfer a gun to a customer if the federal background check is not completed within 3 business days of the background check request to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine innocent people exposed an area of weakness in our federal gun laws, commonly referred to as the “Charleston loophole.” The shooter – who was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm – was able to acquire his gun before the FBI could complete his background check. Although the FBI needed more time to investigate the shooter’s disqualifying records to determine whether the purchase was lawful, federal law allowed the dealer to transfer the gun after three days even though the check was not completed.

H.R. 1446 provides the background check system with additional time to make a final determination on a potential firearms purchaser before a licensed dealer can transfer a gun. It does this while protecting the ability of lawful citizens to obtain timely results and avoid having purchases stalled indefinitely.

For more information on the current Brady Background Check system, please read Brady’s latest report, “How Brady Background Checks Became Law.”

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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