THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
President Clinton: Defending and Strengthening the Brady Law August 6, 1998
At a Rose Garden event today, President Clinton will challenge Congress to make permanent the Brady waiting period of up to five days before the purchase of a handgun; and oppose Congressional efforts to undermine final implementation of the Brady Law.
Making Permanent the Brady Waiting Period for Handgun Sales
Preserving a critical law enforcement tool. The Brady Law establishes a five-day waiting period before a handgun can be sold, but this provision sunsets when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) takes effect on November 30, 1998. While NICS will allow access to a fuller set of records than is now available -- and stop even more ineligible purchasers from buying firearms -- a permanent waiting period will enhance local law enforcement?s ability to be the last, best line of defense against illegal handgun purchases. This waiting period will allow law enforcement officers to check additional, non-computerized records, and will provide cooling-off time for handgun purchases. Calling on Congress to beat the deadline. President Clinton will challenge Congress to extend the Brady waiting period for handguns before it expires on November 30th. He will support legislation introduced by Representative Schumer and Senator Durbin and applying to all states to which the Brady Law now applies that will: (1) require a minimum 3-day waiting period for all handgun purchases; (2) add up to an additional two days to the waiting period if law enforcement officers need more time to clarify arrest records; and (3) require gun dealers to notify local law enforcement officials of all proposed handgun purchases, as they must now but under current law need not once the NICS goes into effect.
Defending the Brady Law
Proof positive that Brady works. Since taking effect in 1994, the Brady Law has prevented an estimated 242,000 felons, fugitives, mentally unstable persons, and other prohibited purchasers from buying handguns. In 1997 alone, 69,000 handgun purchases were blocked as a result of Brady background checks. Expanding Brady's reach. Under the Brady Law, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) will take effect on November 30, 1998. NICS will allow access to a fuller set of records than is now available, and law enforcement officials will use it to conduct checks of all prospective gun purchases -- not just handgun purchasers. After nearly 5 years of working with law enforcement to develop the NICS, the Justice and Treasury Departments plan to propose a regulation to finalize its implementation next week. Fighting efforts to undermine Brady. A recent amendment to the Senate Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill would undermine implementation of the NICS. Among other things, the amendment would prohibit the FBI from charging gun dealers a fee for background checks, even though the FBI currently charges school districts, day care providers, and many others for similar background checks. Without the resources generated by such a user fee, the FBI either will have to forego processing millions of background checks, or will have to transfer resources from other crime fighting efforts. The Administration strongly opposes this anti-Brady amendment.