Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Formerly Handgun Control, Inc., the Brady Campaign focuses on lobbying the public to support gun control measures, and on swaying public opinion toward owners of firearms. The Campaign is particularly concerned with current measures in Congress that would shield firearms manufacturers from liability for criminal use of their products, and with the 2004 expiration of the "assault weapons" portion of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
Named after Jim Brady, who was shot and seriously wounded on March 30 1981 during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. In 1993 the "Brady Bill" - which requires a five-day waiting period and background checks on handgun purchases - was signed into law.
The Brady Campaign - which merged with the Million Mom March in October 2001 - argues that in the eight years since the Brady Bill was passed gun deaths in the United States have dropped by 27 percent which they claim is, in part, attributable to tougher legislation on covering gun sales. However, the gun death rate had been dropping at least a year before the passage of the bill.
The Brady Campaign specifically challenges the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association and has backed legal actions suing gun manufacturers.
The campaign is also campaigning for the banning of specific high-powered rifles such as .50 caliber rifles. "According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF)," it states, "the .50 caliber sniper rifle has a dangerous history of criminal misuse. This can only worsen as the weapon becomes cheaper and more readily available. BATF has linked .50 caliber BMG sniper rifles to drug dealers, international drug cartels, militia and terrorist groups and a religious cult. Additionally, a 1999 report by the General Accounting Office, 'Criminal Activity Associated with .50 Caliber Semiautomatic Rifles,' stated that of 27 traces involving the Barrett M82A1 (one of the most popular .50 caliber rifles on the market) 18 (66%) were associated with criminal activity." 
Barrett Rifles, which manufactures this style of gun, complains that the Brady Campaign and "left wing politicians and media" demonise guns to justify regulation. "When they succeed, they never look back at the damage they have done to an industry or innocent lives, they just move on looking for another category to restrict", they complain. Barret also disputes the power of the rifles.
"Former Mayor from Ft. Wayne, IN, Paul Helmke, became President of the organization in July 2006.
"Other Chairs and Presidents who have served the organization include Founder Mark Borinsky, Nelson "Pete" Shields, Charles Orasin, Richard M. Aborn, James A. Guest, Robert J. Walker and the Honorable Michael D. Barnes. " 
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
1225 Eye Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Brady Campaign Phone: (202) 898-0792
Brady Campaign Fax: (202) 371-9615
Brady Center Phone: (202) 289-7319
Brady Center Fax: (202) 408-1851
Resources and articles
- Bio, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, accessed February 25, 2011.
- Michael D. Barnes, Stennis Center for Public Service, accessed July 23, 2007.