URGENT: Tell the Senate to Confirm David Chipman to Lead the ATF
The ATF needs strong leadership to enforce our nation's gun laws and regulate the gun industry
Positive change can happen. Americans, citizens and residents alike, have rallied, marched, and voted to ensure gun violence is no longer ignored. Brady is committed to delivering life-saving change and comprehensive solutions to people across the country. We owe it to ourselves, our families, and our communities to keep all of us safe.
Brady Background Checks have long prevented many guns from prohibited purchasers with dangerous intent, but the system has gaps and loopholes that must be modernized. It's urgent that we pass universal background checks that cover sales at gun shows, the Internet, and private transactions. Passing legislation to expand background checks to be universal and include nearly every gun sale is our number one priority — and a common-sense way to save lives.
It is critical to close deadly gaps in our gun laws that allow people who are at risk of harming themselves or others to access firearms. Under current law, only dating partners who do not share a child in common do not qualify as "intimate partners" who could be prohibited from buying and owning firearms. Part of Brady's plan in ending gun violence includes closing the “boyfriend loophole” — so dating partners convicted of domestic abuse will be treated the same as spouses — which will protect more women experiencing dating violence. Additionally, those convicted of stalking and hate crime misdemeanors can still purchase and possess guns under current law. All of these loopholes must be closed.
Weapons of war, including military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, have no place on America’s streets or in its places of peace. These weapons, known for their ability to exact maximum destruction and casualties, are often the guns of choice for mass shooters. As part of Brady's plan, we urge Congress to prevent civilian access to such weapons by enacting tighter restrictions on purchasing and possessing them.
The Trump administration clarified in December 2018 that bump stocks fall within the statutory definition of machine guns and are therefore illegal. Bump stocks are one of many devices that increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle to approximate the rate of fire of a fully automatic machine gun. The only way to ensure that bump stocks remain illegal — and to guarantee that similar accessories do not replace them — is for Congress to pass a law restricting these deadly devices.
Ghost and 3D-printed guns allow people with dangerous intent to evade background checks by building firearms with purchased components or printing those components at home. Ghost guns lack serial numbers, so if found at a crime scene, the weapon’s origin or ownership is “invisible” to law enforcement. 3D-printed guns can be made entirely of plastic, making most modern security devices like metal detectors ineffective. Similar to ghost guns, these firearms are manufactured without serial numbers and cannot be traced by law enforcement. These do not belong on our streets.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have extreme risk protective order (ERPO) or gun violence restraining order (GVRO) laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a civil court to temporarily remove firearms from — and prohibit their purchase by — a person in crisis. These orders are based on behavioral indicators of dangerousness and contain due process protections for the individuals subject to the orders. It is imperative that Congress provide grants to encourage states to pass these lifesaving laws, as well as provide incentives for implementation and education programs that make the public aware of how to best utilize these protections.
In the United States today, gun violence is a public health epidemic. To fully understand the scope of the problem and identify the best solutions to prevent gun violence, Congress must fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct thorough, evidence-based research on the issue.
We must mitigate the disproportionate impact of gun violence on communities of color in urban areas, primarily Black and Brown communities. Evidence-based gun violence prevention and intervention programs are proven to help break cycles of violence that arise from a variety of factors including decades of oppression, government indifference, and trauma, and investments in these programs frequently pay for themselves several times over. Funding these programs at a federal level to ensure stable, long-term support would help stem the plague of urban gun violence.
Every day, eight children and teens are unintentionally injured or killed due to family fire — a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home. To reduce unintentional shootings, Congress should pass laws encouraging safe storage through tax incentives; broaden the scope of firearms required to be sold with gun storage or safety devices; require safe storage warnings be issued with every gun purchase; mandate magazine disconnects that make a gun inoperable when the magazine is separated from the gun; and fund or mandate research, development, and manufacturing of “smart gun” technology.
PLCAA provides the gun industry with special protections from civil lawsuits at the expense of victims or survivors of gun violence. Courts have held that in many cases, PLCAA removes key incentives for the gun industry to adopt lifesaving business practices and instead provides cover to irresponsible gun dealers who supply the criminal gun market. This small minority of gun dealers profit from dangerous business practices with no accountability to their victims. No other American industry enjoys such civil immunity, and we must repeal PLCAA so all victims and survivors of gun violence have their day in court.
A small minority of gun dealers engage in reckless and illegal practices that put Americans at risk of gun violence. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) knows exactly who these actors are — yet allows them to stay in business. ATF dealer inspection reports show that ATF has allowed many of the worst violators in the gun industry to keep their licenses after failed compliance inspections. ATF’s failure to enforce the law and revoke the licenses of even repeat violators is a significant contributor to the country’s crime gun problem.
The corporate gun industry has hidden data from the public that would best inform policy solutions and better reveal how gun companies supply the criminal gun market. In 2003, the Tiahrt Amendment was first added to a bill funding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and limited ATF from publicly disclosing information from the Firearms Trace System database. Over time, the Tiahrt Amendment has been interpreted to shield the most negligent gun dealers from public scrutiny while also depriving the public of key data to help stem the flow of guns that are illegally obtained.