Brady Bill Outline

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The Brady Bill On March 30, 1981, John W. Hinckley Jr. made an assassination attempt on then President Ronald Reagan (Rollins-Eakins). During the assassination attempt, President Reagan, a secret service agent, a Washington D.C. police officer, and then press secretary, James S. Brady were shot (Rollins-Eakins). President Reagan was shot in the lungs while Brady was shot in the head, leaving him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair (Rollins-Eakins). As this attack was one of several high-profile shootings at the time, public anxiety over handgun violence was increasing. In response to this public anxiety, the Brady Act, or the Brady Bill, was drafted and eventually signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 30, 1993 after seven…show more content…
Though committee partisanship looked good for the bill, Congressmen sat through hours of deliberation over amendments. Representative Bill McCollum (R-FL) introduced an amendment which stated that state waiting periods should be eliminated as soon as the nationwide instant check system kicked in. McCollum’s amendment was eventually rejected with a vote of 16-19 (CQ Almanac). Another amendment that would have required police officials to provide a written reason for denying a gun purchase within five days ultimately failed 16-19, though Crime and Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) ultimately agreed to let those who believe they were wrongfully denied a handgun to sue in order to clear their record (CQ Almanac). After also denying a Republican alternative to the Brady bill by Representative Robert W. Goodlatte (R-VA), the bill passed the House Judiciary Committee 23-12 on November 4th (Aborn). The vote was split almost entirely along party lines, with Democrats voting for the bill and Republicans voting against it. However, two Democrats- Brooks and Rick Boucher (D-VA)- voting against the bill and four Republicans- Hamilton Fish Jr. (R-NY), Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Jim Ramstad (R-MN), and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI)- supporting the bill (CQ Almanac). With both sides knowing that there were enough votes to pass at least some version of the bill, they voted 238-182 in allowing the bill to come to the floor (CQ Almanac). Both sides also knew that along with the bill coming to the floor, so would several Republican amendment proposals with support from the Judiciary Committee Chairman, Brooks. Schumer, as the bill sponsor, agreed to accept an amendment from Ramstad (R-MN) that would require police provide a reason for denial within twenty days. The amendment was easily adopted 431-2 (CQ Almanac). Representative George W. Gekas

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