The adoption of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act has given rise to debates among policy-makers, the owners of firearms, and law enforcement officers. According to this law, it is necessary to carry out background checks on people who intend to purchase firearms (Carter, 2002, p. 74). Furthermore, in some cases, a person can be denied the right to acquire weapons from federally licensed dealers. Admittedly, this law has limited the accessibility of firearms to those individuals who may pose a threat to the lives of other people. Nevertheless, there are many loopholes that enable potential criminals to acquire handguns, and these loopholes are not covered in this legal act.
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Overall, it is possible to argue that there are positive aspects of this law. In particular, this policy prevents many people, who may pose a threat to the community, from acquiring firearms. For instance, one can speak about fugitives from the law, individuals who committed serious felonies, or those people convicted of domestic violence. Certainly, they may require firearms for self-defense; however, at the same time, they can use these weapons against innocent people who did not provoke them in any way.
Additionally, one can refer to the Firearm Inquiry Statistics (Program implemented by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2012). According to the findings presented by this organization, in more than 60 percent of all cases, the right to purchase firearms was denied to people who were either fugitive from the law or felons (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2012, p. 2). In turn, it is quite possible to say that these buyers might have used these firearms against other people. Thus, the Brady Act could be critical for avoiding potential risks.
Nevertheless, there are several important limitations to this policy. In particular, people who are involved in handgun violence do not usually acquire firearms from licensed dealers. As a rule, they can either steal these weapons or purchase them from relatives or friends (Fisher & Lab, 2010, p, 35). Apart from that, these individuals can acquire firearms from unlicensed dealers who may not follow existing regulations (Fisher & Lab, 2010, p, 35). Furthermore, one should consider such a practice as a straw purchase, which means that a person can acquire goods or services by relying on some third-parties. Additionally, such people can forge false identifications. These are some of the risks that should be considered.
While evaluating this law, one should mention that there is no statistical evidence that can show that this policy led to the reduction of handgun violence. So, people who intend to use firearms for criminal purposes do not necessarily rely on licensed dealers. However, there is one exception; in particular, it is necessary to speak about the reduction of the suicide rate among people aged above 55 (Fisher & Lab, 2010, p. 36). One should keep in mind that the Brady Act prevents individuals from acquiring firearms if they have certain mental illnesses. However, this evidence is not sufficient for saying that this policy has been very effective.
Overall, this discussion shows that the Brady Act can make firearms less accessible to people who may pose a danger to society. However, in many cases, individuals who intend to use firearms for illegal purposes can avoid restrictions included in this law. This is why the occurrence of handgun violence has not decreased significantly after the adoption of the Brady Act. So, these limitations should be addressed by policy-makers.
Carter, G. (2002). Guns in American Society. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO. Web.
Fisher, B., & Lab, S. (2010). Encyclopedia of Victimology and Crime Prevention. New York, NY: SAGE. Web.