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Brady Calls on President Biden to Address Gun Violence Using His Executive Authority

Washington, D.C., March 25, 2021 - Today, Brady reiterates its call for the Biden-Harris Administration to take executive action to address gun violence. Brady joined with 35 gun violence prevention organizations in submitting an open letter to the Biden Administration calling on them to take comprehensive action and present a plan to combat gun violence both to activists and the public. This crisis cannot wait and President Biden can act at once across his Administration to tangibly reduce gun violence and keep our nation safe. Brady asks that President Biden unveil his agenda to combat gun violence, announce the executive actions that he will take to immediately address this issue, and announce his nomination for Director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“We cannot wait to prevent gun violence. President Biden cannot wait to prevent gun violence. He has said so himself. It is within the power of the President of the United States to take immediate action against gun violence by leveraging the power of the executive branch.

President Biden must do so. We need action now while the Senate debates and votes on common-sense gun violence prevention bills. Gun violence is a complicated public health emergency. It needs a comprehensive approach, that means actions from the executive branch, legislative solutions and funding for community-based initiatives and violence prevention programs.

President Biden has been faced with an unprecedented array of challenges. Sadly, gun violence is among those challenges. Now that his cabinet is in place and Secretary Xavier Becerra, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Attorney General Merrick Garland are in place, the President is well poised to be able tackle this issue with his executive authority. We call on him to unveil his legislative agenda, announce the executive actions that he will take to immediately address this issue, and announce his nomination for Director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

About Brady’s Executive Actions Recommendations:

In June 2020, Brady released a suite of recommendations that any President and any administration can take to take to address gun violence. The report, “Leading with Action: Addressing Gun Violence With Executive Authority,” outlines recommendations that can accomplish five, overarching goals:

  1. Enhance and strengthen the Brady Background Check System;

  2. Improve gun industry oversight and accountability;

  3. Prevent the diversion of firearms to the illegal market;

  4. Reform the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and

  5. Promote public health and safety.

These actions should work in concert with comprehensive, Congressional efforts to prevent gun violence, which affects all Americans, albeit in varied and unequal ways. In anticipation of those comprehensive actions, the Executive Branch can and should take these steps immediately to reduce gun violence across the country and relieve the extraordinary burden and loss that gun violence imposes on every American, and in particular on communities of color that bear disproportionate and deleterious costs from gun violence.

Specific Recommendations

Enhance and Strengthen the Brady Background Check System

  1. Limit the private sales exception to those who sell 5 or fewer firearms a year to unlicensed individuals for profit.

  2. Instruct ATF to broaden its interpretation of the term “firearm” to include unfinished frames and receivers which are designed and marketed to be converted into firearms.

  3. Instruct ATF to expand the prohibition against firearms possession to include individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence against dating partners regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

  4. Instruct the DOJ to clarify that fugitives from justice, regardless of whether or not they have crossed state lines, are prohibited from purchasing guns.

  5. Instruct ATF to allow dealers whose licenses have been revoked only two options with regard to their remaining inventory of firearms: 1) sell their firearms to another FFL, or 2) surrender their inventory to ATF.

Gun Industry Oversight and Accountability

  1. Instruct ATF to overhaul its internal standards for issuing remedial actions — including license revocations — so that repeat and serious violators are no longer permitted to sell guns to the public.

  2. Direct ATF to require that FFLs perform annual background checks on all employees who transfer or may transfer firearms.

  3. Require that ATF share FFL inspection data with state and local law enforcement on a regular basis.

  4. Instruct the Attorney General to prioritize legal action against the gun industry for violations of federal law.

  5. Direct federal agencies to procure firearms solely from manufacturers, distributors, and dealers that have adopted safe business practices, and mandate that the FFLs in their distribution chains implement these policies and standards.

  6. Return regulatory authority of arms exports back to the State Department.

Prevent the Diversion of Firearms to the Illegal Market

  1. Direct ATF to interpret the phrase “statistical aggregate data” in the Tiahrt Amendments to include the aggregate number of crime gun traces on a per dealer basis, and to include information about the largest crime gun suppliers in the annual state trafficking reports.

  2. Direct ATF to assess the terms of all MOUs with state and local law enforcement agencies regarding the use of eTrace data and ensure that no provisions place any restrictions on state and local use of trace data that are not necessary to comply with the language of Tiahrt.

  3. Instruct ATF to require all states to report multiple sales of long guns so that it can identify traffickers and the dealers that facilitate gun trafficking.

  4. Direct ATF to permit entities with eTrace logins to share trace data across state lines.

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Accountability and Reform

  1. Direct ATF to prioritize crime gun suppliers, non-compliant FFLs, and other high-risk FFLs for more frequent compliance inspections, and to formally track and report its progress on an annual basis

  2. Direct ATF to issue an annual report providing detailed information about legal violations by gun dealers, distributors, and manufacturers and how ATF has chosen to address such violations, broken down by geographic areas that correspond with ATF field divisions, to provide transparency about gun industry compliance and ATF compliance inspections.

  3. Direct ATF to release an annual updated report containing all of the same categories of information contained in the 2000 report. This would equip policymakers with information necessary to prevent violence in their communities.

Prioritize Public Public Health and Safety

  1. Appoint a well-qualified National Director of Gun Violence Prevention to coordinate federal responses to gun violence, a call originated by March for Our Lives.

  2. Convene a task force that would seek comprehensive, actionable solutions to police violence.

  3. Direct the CDC to adopt a methodology that provides reliable and accurate data regarding gunshot injuries.

  4. Instruct ATF to develop and issue federal guidance on firearm safety and home storage safety and encourage FFLs to provide all firearms purchasers with educational materials on safe storage options, including offsite storage that may be available in their area. Providing such information and guidance can work to change social norms and proactively prevent avoidable incidents of family fire,86 whether unintentional discharges, intentional shootings, or firearm suicide, which will save lives.

  5. Instruct ATF to develop and provide guidance, education, and suggested procedures to gun range owners and their employees to prevent incidents of gun violence onsite, as well as theft or burglary.

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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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