6
Holes in the Brady Law

Most felons and other ineligibles who obtain guns do so not because the state's screening system fails to discover their criminal record, but rather because these people find ways of circumventing the screening system entirely…. Under these circumstances, developing a more intensive and reliable screening process is probably not worth the additional cost. —Philip J. Cook and James Blose, “State Programs for Screening Handgun Buyers”

Regulating gun transfers appears to be a promising method of keeping guns from the hands of youths and criminals, or, at least, of limiting the time that they are armed. When guns are relatively scarce and expensive, youths may be slower to acquire a gun and quicker to sell it. —Philip Cook, Stephanie Molliconi, and Thomas Cole, “Regulating Gun Markets”

While proponents and supporters hailed the Brady Act as an important step toward reducing violent crime, a close look makes that prediction doubtful. The law's most glaring weakness is its failure to require background checks of individuals who obtain “used” firearms via sales, gifts, or loans from a person who is not a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). A closely related problem is the failure to cover gun shows, where people interested in purchasing a firearm without being subjected to a background check can easily find an obliging seller. Moreover, an ineligible purchaser

-99-

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Can Gun Control Work?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Contents xv
  • I - Essential Background 1
  • 1 - Dissecting the Gun Problem 3
  • 2 - Existing Gun Controls 19
  • 3 - Impediments to More Gun Controls 37
  • II - America's Dominant Gun Control Paradigm 59
  • 4 - The Politics of the Brady Law 61
  • 5 - What the Brady Law Says 77
  • 6 - Holes in the Brady Law 99
  • 7 - Evaluating the Brady Law 111
  • III - Policy Options for the Future 123
  • 8 - Closing the Gun Show and Secondary Market Loophole 125
  • 9 - Comprehensive Licensing and Registration 137
  • 10 - Prohibition and Disarmament 153
  • 11 - Other Gun Control Strategies 171
  • 12 - Creating Gun-Free Public Spaces 197
  • 13 - Conclusion: The “Problem” Reconsidered 213
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 263
  • Index 279
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