The Brady Bill

Named after James Brady, presidential press secretary, who was wounded in a failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the Brady Bill mandated a national 5-business-day waiting period and background check on all persons buying handguns through licensed dealers.

Signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, the original bill contained a “sunset provision,” which took effect in 1998. This provision replaced the 5-business-day waiting period with a system allowing for an instant background check through a federal database of criminal records called the “National Instant Check System” (NICS).

Much debate continues to swirl around the Brady Bill and its actual effectiveness. Advocates claim success via figures of denial of purchases (600,000 denials within the first 6 years after the passage of the Brady ...

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