President Biden’s Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime Includes Numerous Policies that Brady Has Advocated for Over Many Years
Washington, D.C., June 23, 2021 - Today, Brady applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for adopting or proposing multiple policies that address gun trafficking by correctly enforcing existing gun laws and holding irresponsible dealers to account. These actions, which are among Brady’s recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration, come just weeks after a marquee investigation by USA Today and The Trace into how the ATF’s inspection program fails to adequately address federal firearms licensees (FFLs) that violate the law and that used thousands of pages of documents obtained by Brady through litigation and the Freedom of Information Act.
President Biden’s proposals will also significantly aid local law enforcement in stopping the flow of crime guns into communities across the country, taking a supply-side approach to stopping gun violence that addresses the source of trafficked firearms rather than over-policing the communities most affected by this epidemic. President Biden’s plan will help to stem the surge in violence that we have seen in multiple communities across the country that began last year under former President Trump.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“The Administration is right to swiftly address the concerning increase in gun violence and violence with a whole-of-government approach. Under the Trump Administration, we saw surging violence as well as surging gun sales. In 2020, Brady estimates that gun sales increased nearly 64 percent over 2019 rates, while numerous cities have reported increases in homicides, including gun homicides, and shootings. The American people want solutions and President Biden is delivering them in a manner that gets to the roots of this issue without harming the communities already bearing the brunt of this violence.
Today’s announcement shows that President Biden understands that effectively addressing gun violence requires a comprehensive approach that includes both demand and supply-side strategies. By focusing on enforcing the laws already in place, President Biden can stem the flow of those weapons to the illegal market and into communities most impacted, without repeating the harmful policing policies of the past that can exacerbate these cycles of violence. The supply-side approaches in today’s actions will hold irresponsible gun dealers accountable for profiting off of violence taking place in communities they do not live in, while President Biden’s previous demand-side policies, such as the call for a historic $5 billion for community violence prevention, break cycles of gun violence by investing in and strengthening communities to address the root causes of violence and conflict. These actions will have a direct and lasting impact in communities that are being torn apart by daily gun violence. Thank you to President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland for this focus and plan.”
Brady Legal Counsel and Combating Crime Guns Program Director Josh Scharff shared:
“As reporting last month by USA Today and The Trace using Brady-supplied materials showed, the ATF has for too long failed to adequately enforce existing laws governing the safe sale and transfer of firearms. President Biden’s announcement today shows that those days are over. We know that this will immediately and tangibly help to reduce gun violence by stopping the trafficking of firearms throughout our country. We know that most firearms used in crimes, called crime guns, begin in the legal marketplace at a licensed dealer. Incredibly only 5 percent of gun dealers are responsible for 90 percent of crime guns that are recovered and traced by law enforcement. By addressing the reality that a small number of irresponsible dealers are responsible for the majority of crime guns, the Biden Administration can help prevent those crimes and save lives. Importantly, included among these policies is a formalization of data-driven prioritization of inspection resources, a policy that Brady has called for and championed with our enhanced inspections initiative for years. Today is a historic day in the effort to enforce our nation’s gun laws and properly inspect the gun industry.”
Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“This announcement is a watershed moment in the gun violence prevention movement; the President of the United States has listened to communities and crafted solutions that will effectively reduce the flow of dangerous arms onto our streets without relying on brute force. This announcement addresses the reality of gun violence in America, where nearly half of all homicides occur in just 127 cities and towns that contain only a quarter of the population and where Black men and boys from 15 to 34 comprised 37 percent of gun homicides, despite being less than 2 percent of the population. These statistics do not reflect a “culture of violence” requiring ever more militant policing, as some suggest, but they instead reflect decades of racist policies, oppression, and indifference. The reality is that gun homicide disproportionately affects Black and Brown Americans, even though the firearms used in those crimes are often negligently or recklessly sold outside of our communities. Brady is proud and pleased to see the Biden Administration tackle both ends of that equation, first in calling for historic funding for violence prevention programs to help heal our communities and now in addressing the source of these dangerous weapons. President Biden and his administration are truly taking comprehensive action to address violence in our country.”
About Brady’s Supply-Side Approach
Read Brady’s full Combating Crime Guns report here.
Most efforts to prevent gun violence focus on the perpetrators of violence with guns. These demand-side efforts, whether public policy, criminal justice reform, or social service programs, are necessary to save lives. But, alone, they are not sufficient to end America’s epidemic of gun violence, and the burden of ending gun violence should not rest solely on the communities most impacted.
A supply-side approach is focused on the supply of crime guns and encourages elected officials, community members, and law enforcement to address not just the shooter, but also the source or supplier of the gun.
By using a behavior change approach that holds gun dealers accountable, in addition to existing intervention and prevention efforts, local communities could experience a reduction in homicide and shooting rates in even the most impacted neighborhoods. In other words, a supply-side strategy is a critical aspect of a comprehensive public health approach to reducing gun violence.
“There’s really no teeth to the laws & gun dealers know that." — Retired ATF agent— Kris Brown | President, bradyunited.org (@KrisB_Brown) June 23, 2021
This is why we need @POTUS's new solutions to prevent gun crimes, announced today.
And this is why we need to #ConfirmChipman to ensure these solutions are fully realized. https://t.co/Pg5yMgcRhS
About Brady’s Enhanced Gun Dealer Inspection Initiative
Brady’s Enhanced Inspections Initiative focuses on identifying and reforming problematic gun dealers by providing state and local authorities with the tools necessary to optimize their gun dealer inspection processes. State and local gun industry oversight is critically necessary, as the ATF inspects only about 7 percent of federal firearms licensees each year, including only 12-13 percent of all dealers, pawnshops, and manufacturers. Even when the ATF does inspect a federal firearms licensee (FFL), as this investigation shows, it often fails to adequately enforce the law.
Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and litigation, Brady has obtained and analyzed over 50,000 pages of ATF inspection data. Using this and other data, Brady has created a method for identifying key characteristics of dealers more likely to violate the law. Our method is 4.5 times more likely to identify a problem dealer than random selection. We expect its accuracy to increase as we gain access to more data.
Brady is working to integrate its proprietary data analytics tool into state and local inspection processes. This tool allows state and local authorities to focus their limited resources on dealers who are likely to be violating the law. In doing so, states and localities will be able to fill the oversight void that currently exists due to ATF constraints, and conduct their own, more efficient oversight of dealers.
Together with our partners, the Enhanced Inspections Initiative combines analytics with Brady’s expertise and national resources to better understand urban firearm gun homicide and violence, identify problem dealers, and stem the flow of guns into impacted communities.
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.