The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act A Policy Critique

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  • Topic: Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Gun Control Act of 1968, Firearm
  • Pages : 12 (4338 words )
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  • Published : September 22, 2013
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The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
A Policy Critique

Analyze the Problem
Every program or policy starts with a problem in need of a solution, and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act is no different. The need for change was very simply justified: violent crimes are most often committed with a handgun. (DOJ, 1995) More outstanding however, in the case of the Brady act, was the specific assault against president Reagan and the crippling of James Brady. Similarly, the earlier Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 was precipitated by the high-profile assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Against this justifiable backdrop the gun control activitists launched campaigns to help regulate firearms nationwide. Gun crime has a long history. Regulating handguns, however, is a fairly recent proposition. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, along with the GCA before it, was one of the first major gun control policies enacted by the US government. This history of the problem however, is almost unfathomable. As soon as man invents a technology, he figures out a way to make it into a weapon to kill his fellow man with it. For the sake of amusement, the author attempted to find the first recorded handgun murder- unsuccessfully. The first murder, however, happened in the garden of Eden, perpetrated by the 3rd human to ever exist. This is important to the study of the Brady Act for one clear reason. The question remains: is handgun violence a result of the availability of weapons or of man's inclination to kill each other? Examining the potential causes of man's violence towards each other is a far more philosophical endeavor than this paper. Suffice it to say that the causes of violence goes far beyond just the availability of a certain convenient method. This perhaps is one of the first, great oversights of the Brady Act: the idea that denying the sale of registered handguns to certain individuals deemed likely to misuse them is going lower the number of incidents of handgun violence. As mentioned above, notable previous interventions include the Gun Control Act of 1968. This intervention created a broad basis of regulation by defining characteristics that would prohibit certain people, such as fugitives, felons and convicts, from owning guns. It also mandated the licensing of gun sellers. What the CGA did not accomplish, however, was the creation of a clear and proactive means of preventing the prohibited parties from obtaining weapons; it just made it illegal to do so. It could be said that, in the process of identifying the relevant stakeholders involved in the creation of the Brady Act, that all of the people of the United States are involved. After all the US Constitution, Amendment II, which applies to all citizens, quotes, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." To narrow down the stakeholders a bit, there are essentially two sides that effected the Brady Act and its creation, implementation, and modification. Gun control activists, proponents of handgun control, and people affected by gun crime like the Bradys essentially created and lobbied the Brady Act into Congress, and obviously desire to see it made into law and at work in the community. On the other hand, gun ownership proponents and those that oppose legislation on firearms fought the Brady Act from beginning to end. Most specifically, the National Rifle Association (NRA) played a large role in shaping the Brady Act by representing the latter of the two groups. Both of these groups are probably not actually going to be affected by a change in the legislation either way, rather they are both idealists that beleive they are protecting people and their rights, and both feel their approach is in accordance with the second amendment, but these two groups are fiercely opposed to each other. Gun control advocates read the...
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