This Day in History: Brady Background Checks as Law

On November 30, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which established background checks on all firearm purchases from federally licensed dealers.   The name of the law honored Jim Brady, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s Press Secretary was and shot in the head in 1981 during an assassination attempt on the president’s life by a dangerously mentally ill man. Today, February 28, 2014, marks 20 years since the provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act took effect.  To date, Brady background checks have prevented over 2 million gun sales in the United States.

Deuteronomy 22:8 commands us: “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you do not bring blood upon your house, if any man should fall from the roof.”  Jewish tradition teaches us that we should take preventative measures against violence and bloodshed.  Our biblical teachings command us to build railings on the roofs of our houses to make sure that no one falls to their death.  In our modern society, background checks on gun purchases are a figurative parapet against gun violence.

On the 20th anniversary of the Brady Bill taking effect, we can reflect on the successes of the Brady Bill and the impact it has had on our society.  But we must also acknowledge that there is still more to do: only 60% of gun sales currently take place with a Brady background check–and 40% of gun sales take place at unlicensed gun shows or on the internet and are not subject to background checks.  Today, we must recommit ourselves to closing this dangerous loophole and upholding our Jewish values of preventing violence and bloodshed.

Take action today:

Image courtesy of CNN

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Deborah Goldberg

About Deborah Goldberg

Deborah Goldberg is an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. She graduated in 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis and is originally from Deerfield, IL where she is a member of Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim.

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