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The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act: Lessons in the Development and Implementation of Federal Policy Open Access

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The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (P.L. 103-159) was implemented in a two-stage process beginning in March 1994. During the act's 57-month interim phase, from March 1, 1994, to November 30, 1998, chief law enforcement officers in the United States conducted nearly 13 million handgun background checks, providing documentation that would prevent 312,000 sales to convicted felons and others who were ineligible to purchase firearms. Since November 30; 1998, when the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System became operational, thousands more firearm sales to ineligible buyers have been prevented. This article explores some of the issues surrounding the passage, implementation, and ramifications of this landmark legislation.

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