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|Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence|
|Type||Non-profit lobbying group|
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence are affiliated non-profit organizations in the United States. They are named after James Brady who was permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The mission statement of the Brady Campaign is "to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations, and public policies through grassroots activism, electing public officials who support gun laws, and increasing public awareness of gun violence." The Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is a 501(c)(4) organization.
The mission statement of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is "to reform the gun industry by enacting and enforcing sensible regulations to reduce gun violence, including regulations governing the gun industry. ... We educate the public about gun violence through litigation, grassroots mobilization, and outreach to affected communities." The Brady Center is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT, The Brady Campaign experienced an overwhelming number of new supporters and a renewed interest in passing legislation to reduce gun violence. The Brady Campaign leadership has been leading the effort on Capitol Hill to pass a set of reforms, including an expansion of the Background Check program. Their leadership has met with President Obama and Vice President Biden to craft a package of bills aimed at reducing gun violence.
The Brady Campaign emerged from Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), originally the National Council to Control Handguns (NCCH), and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV). NCCH was founded in 1974 by Dr. Mark Borinsky, a victim of gun violence, and became HCI in 1980.
In January 2010, the Better Business Bureau published its Charity Review on the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, stating that it failed to meet five (of twenty) standards for charity accountability. This report will expire in 2014.
Mark Borinsky founded the National Council to Control Handguns in 1974. He served as Chair until 1976. Charlie Orasin was a key player in the founding and growth of Handgun Control (HCI). He worked at HCI from 1975 until 1992.
Nelson "Pete" Shields became the organization's chairman in 1978 and retired in 1989.
From Brady Campaign's website:
"As the largest national, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, the Million Mom March and the Brady Center are dedicated to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in their communities. The Brady Campaign, the Million Mom March and the Brady Center believe that a safer America can be achieved without banning all guns."
In 1976, then chairman Nelson "Pete" Shields stated
"We'll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily – given the political realities – very modest. We'll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal.
Efforts and actions
HCI was the chief supporter of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, known as the "Brady Bill", enacted in 1993 after a seven-year debate; and successfully lobbied for passage of the first-ever Federal Assault Weapons Ban, banning the manufacture and importation of so-called military-style assault weapons, a provision that critics called "arbitrary" and "symbolic". The ban expired in September 2004.
In May 2005, Florida passed a "Stand Your Ground" law that authorized persons attacked in their own home or automobile to use lethal force in self-defense without a duty to retreat; Brady Campaign workers passed out fliers at Florida airports warning tourists that, under what they called the "Shoot First" law, tourists could be shot for simply being rude to a Florida resident. When such laws were proposed in other states, the Brady Campaign warned they would result in vigilantism.
On March 19, 2009, a federal judge ordered a temporary injunction blocking the implementation of the rule allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry firearms concealed within National Park Service lands within states where their permits are valid, based upon environmental concerns, in response to efforts by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees. On May 20, 2009, the injunction was overturned by the passing of an amendment to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, added by Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK) over the objections of the Brady Campaign.
Supreme Court cases
U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 2008 and 2010 have affirmed the right of citizens to own and use firearms in their homes for self-defense. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) ruled that the Second Amendment was an individual (rather than collective) right, like the rest of the Bill of Rights. McDonald v. Chicago (2010) ruled that the Second Amendment was incorporated against the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and struck down a Chicago ordinance banning handguns. In both cases the Brady Campaign was not entirely happy with the outcome, stating that they were worried that a decrease in government regulation of firearms would result in more gun deaths and gun violence. They however have stated they are pleased that neither case outcome precluded the ability of government, either federal or local, to institute some level of continued firearm regulations.
Writer Richard Lowry said that the term "assault weapon", used in the 1994 crime bill that followed the 1993 Brady Bill is a "manufactured term". This term is used by the Brady Campaign to refer to semi-automatic or self-loading rifles. Critics maintain this is done in order to conflate them in the public imagination with assault rifles, and the Brady Campaign has, on occasion, used the terms interchangeably. The Brady Campaign contends that self-loading and select-fire weapons are virtually identical, since a semi-automatic rifle may be fired rapidly.
Additionally, the Campaign has in the past called for a ban of "plastic guns", after becoming concerned about the emergence of polymer-framed handguns by Austrian weapons manufacturer Glock Ges.m.b.H.. Critics pointed out that those handguns still contain many vital components made of metal (such as the slide, barrel and ammunition), and can be detected by conventional screening technologies. In addition, the type of polymer used in the so-called "plastic guns" is of a type that is opaque to X-ray scanners, rendering discussion over these "plastic guns" moot. There are no fully functional guns consisting only of polymer parts. (It should, however, be noted that The Terrorist Firearms Detection Act in question only outlawed guns with less than 3.2 oz of metal in them, making the law largely symbolic for both sides; as 83.7% [by weight] of any Glock pistol is normal ordnance steel.)
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- Richard Harris, "A Reporter at Large: Handguns," New Yorker, July 26, 1976, 53, 58; see also: Josh Sugarmann, "The NRA is right; but we still need to ban handguns", Washington Monthly, 1 Jun 1987.
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- "Eric C. Morgan. "Assault Rifle Legislation: Unwise and Unconstitutional." American Journal of Criminal Law (Texas). Note 17 (1990): 143". Saf.org. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
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- Kennedy, Michael "Plastic Guns: New Weapons For Terrorists?", Toronto Star, May 8, 1988, at B6.
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