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The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence are affiliated non-profit organizations in the United States. 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."[1] The Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is a 501(c)(4).

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. In addition, we educate the public about gun violence through litigation, grassroots mobilization, and outreach to affected communities."[1] The Brady Center is a 501(c)(3).



The Brady Campaign emerged from Handgun Control, Inc., 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.[2]

HCI grew rapidly following an assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. Both Reagan and his press secretary, James Brady were shot; President Reagan recovered quickly, but Mr. Brady, shot in the head, was paralyzed for life. This led his wife, Sarah Brady, to join HCI in 1985, of which she became chair in 1989. Two years later, she became chair of CPHV (in 1991).[2]

In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or Brady Bill into law. The culmination of a seven-year effort on the part of HCI, the Brady Bill required a five-day waiting period and background check on handgun purchases.[2] The five-day waiting period for handgun purchases expired on November 30, 1998.

On June 14, 2001, Handgun Control, Inc. was renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in honor of Sarah and Jim Brady.[2] On October 1, 2001, it incorporated the Million Mom March.[3]


James Brady and Sarah Brady have been influential in the movement since at least the mid-80s. Mrs. Brady replaced Pete Shields as chair in 1989. Shields had held the position since 1978.[4]

From 2000 to May 2006 former Maryland Congressman Michael D. Barnes was the president of the Brady Campaign. He was succeeded by former Fort Wayne, Indiana mayor Paul Helmke.[citation needed]

Richard Aborn served as president from 1992 until 1996, went on to form the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, and is currently running for District Attorney of Manhattan.[5]

Stated mission

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, HCI's chairman stated that the long-term goal of the organization was a ban on handgun ownership,[7].

In November 2008, Paul Helmke endorsed the American Hunters and Shooters Association by stating, "I see our issues as complementary to theirs".[8]

Efforts and actions

The Brady Campaign was the chief supporter of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, known as the "Brady Bill", enacted in 1993 after several years of 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,[9] a provision that critics called "arbitrary"[10] and "symbolic".[11] The ban expired in September 2004.[12]

On March 19, 2009, a federal judge ordered a temporary restraining order 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 concerns by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.[13][14]

On May 20, 2009, the right for concealed carry permit holders to carry firearms concealed within National Park Service land was restored over the objections of the Brady Campaigns. [15]


The Brady Campaign has faced heavy criticism over their frequent use of inaccurate information and selective use of statistics; such as labeling semi-automatic or self-loading rifles as "assault weapons," trying to conflate them in the public imagination with assault rifles, raising criticism over the use of an incorrect term (traditionally, an assault weapon is one used for breaching obstacles such as the Bangalore Torpedo, SMAW, SRAW, APOBS, and Flamethrower), labeling of hollow-point handgun ammunition as "cop-killers", despite the fact that hollow-point ammunition, by design, expends the greater portion of its kinetic energy on impact, reducing penetration power compared to conventional jacketed rounds or solid slugs, and is incapable of penetrating ballistic vests.[16] Additionally, the Campaign has in the past called for a ban of non-existent "plastic guns".[17][18]

Identity confusion

The Brady Campaign was founded in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns (NCCH). The organization was renamed the Brady Campaign in part to link their lobbying efforts to a tragic current-event. Possibly contributing to confusion about the Campaign's role was the similarly-named National Council to Ban Handguns, subsequently known as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (and also started in 1974). These two organizations, the National Council to Control Handguns (NCCH) and the National Council to Ban Handguns were ostensibly separate in theory but shared the same goals and many of the same members.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence : About". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d "About the Brady Campaign: A History of Working to Prevent Gun ownership". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  3. ^ "How We Started". Million Mom March. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  4. ^ "Nelson Shields 3d, 69, Gun-Control Advocate". New York Times. 1993-01-07. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "Richard Aborn for Manhattan DA". The Nation. 2009-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Our Mission" (html/php). The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  7. ^ Richard Harris, "A Reporter at Large: Handguns," New Yorker, July 26, 1976, 53, 58
  8. ^ Birnbaum, Jeffrey H (2008-03-18). "New Pro-Gun Group Hopes to Draw From the NRA". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  9. ^ Barak, Gregg (2007). Battleground. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 335. ISBN 0313340404. 
  10. ^ Wilkie, Dana (2004-03-20). "Effectiveness of assault-weapon bans still unclear". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  11. ^ Kopel, Dave (2004-09-14). "Bait-’n’-Switch". National Review. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  12. ^ Siebel, Brian (2004-09-14). "The Assault Weapons Ban: Brady Campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  13. ^ Judge Blocks Rule Permitting Concealed Guns In U.S. Parks Washington Post, March 20, 2009.
  14. ^ "Copy of Injunction" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  15. ^ "Congress Approves Bill Restricting Credit Card Industry, Allowing Guns in Parks — Political News". 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  16. ^ Parks, W. Hays (October 12, 1990). "Sniper Use of Open-Tip Ammunition". The Gun Zone. United States Army. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  17. ^ Kennedy, Michael "Plastic Guns: New Weapons For Terrorists?", Toronto Star, May 8, 1988, at B6.
  18. ^ Ruhl, Jesse Matthew; Rizer, Arthur L. III; Wier, Mikel J. "Gun Control: Targeting Rationality in a Loaded Debate", The Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, Volume XIII Number III

Further reading



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