On this day three decades ago, the Brady Bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton as its namesake James Brady, a former White House press secretary, looked on. Brady was shot and paralyzed during a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The transformative legislation required all federally licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and it expanded and streamlined the process of conducting them. Though gun violence deaths and firearm injuries have continued to rise in the United States since 1993, the Brady Bill had a substantial effect on gun purchasing and gun violence in America.
Since the bill’s passage, more than 2.2 million background checks have resulted in denials, potentially saving an untold number of American lives. And 20 states have enacted background checks of their own on most, if not all, gun sales, in the absence of universal background checks. These are some of the numbers The Trace’s Chip Brownlee looked at to quantify the impact of the legislation on its anniversary.
What to Know Today
A real-time gun violence dashboard has been unveiled in Louisville, Kentucky. It includes interactive reports that show victim demographics, homicides and nonfatal shooting incidents, and neighborhood maps. [Louisville Public Media]
Health professionals and policy experts testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the intersection between gun violence and public health. [C-SPAN]
For many Americans with various illnesses, a federal law that prevents medical marijuana users from owning guns is coming to the fore as courts throughout the country decide if the restriction is a threat to their Second Amendment rights. [The New York Times]
The murder convictions of two separate men who were investigated by the same NYPD precinct in Harlem were overturned on Monday. The men had served a combined 54 years for crimes that prosecutors say lack substantial evidence for their guilt. [Gothamist]
Last year, the age-adjusted rate of suicide was higher than in any other year since at least 1941, despite the decrease in suicides among children and young adults, according to data by the CDC. In more than half of those suicides, a firearm was used. [CNN]
In Connecticut, seven community-based violence prevention organizations will each receive $88,330 over the next three years to try to curb the state’s gun violence. The organizations plan to spend their grants in various ways, from enlisting healthcare workers to assist shooting victims to helping young kids and teens keep busy with farm work. [NBC Connecticut]
49,449 – The number of people who died by suicide last year in the U.S., according to provisional data from the CDC. [CDC]