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Homicide and Gun Control: The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and Homicide Rates

NCJ Number
Jeffrey D, Monroe
Date Published
224 pages
The impact of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady) on the overall homicide rates and rates of specific types of homicide is examined.
Central findings are that the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady) a) had no effect on overall adult homicide rates, b) is not associated with any change in the rate of adult handgun homicide, and c) is significantly associated with reductions in the rate at which rifles, shotguns, and other non-handgun firearms are used to commit homicide. Additionally, exploratory analyses suggest that Brady did not affect d) alcohol-related gun homicide rates or e) the rate of domestic gun-related homicide of women. When the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1993, it amended and provided enforcement capabilities to the 1968 Gun Control Act. The Brady law held federally licensed firearms dealers responsible for determining whether handgun purchasers were legally prohibited from buying the gun (background check). The Brady law also imposed a waiting period designed to give adequate time for the background check to be conducted. This research addressed whether some of the known decline in homicide rates that began in 1994 could be attributed to the Brady law. It is hypothesized that interim Brady, as originally implemented, might have reduced homicide rates because felons and other presumably dangerous individuals were barred from purchasing handguns. It is also hypothesized that interim Brady might also have reduced homicides by imposing a waiting period. This is the first test of Brady to disaggregate homicide and consider potential changes it might have had on specific types of killing. Figure, tables, endnotes, appendix A-D, references, and index