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United States v. Miller

The Brady Bill

On 30 March 1981, would-be assassin John David Hinckley fired on President Ronald Reagan as he left a Washington, D.C. hotel. Reagan was not critically wounded; but his press secretary, James Brady, was paralyzed for life. As a result, Brady and his wife Sarah became active in the campaign for handgun control legislation, and because Brady was a former member of a conservative administration, the couple were particularly popular spokespeople for gun control--typically a liberal issue.

Congress, on 30 November 1993, passed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, popularly known as the "Brady Bill." The Brady Bill's provisions included a five-day waiting period for persons buying firearms; background checks on prospective firearms purchasers; up to $200 million a year to upgrade states' criminal recordkeeping; federal court prosecution for gun theft; and a hike in fees for federal firearms licenses from $30 to $200.

Despite these measures, as US News reported, "If there's one thing supporters and opponents of the Brady Bill agree on . . . it is that the measure . . . won't stop the majority of criminals from obtaining firearms." Only 17 percent of firearms used by criminals, according to the magazine, are obtained through lawful means.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940United States v. Miller - Sawed-off Shotguns The Second Amendment, Preserving A Well-regulated Militia, The Brady Bill