We Need Leadership and Action: Brady Releases Recommendations for Executive Actions to Address Gun Violence

Washington, D.C, June 8, 2020 – Today, the Brady Campaign released a suite of 23 recommendations for the Executive Branch and the office of the President to address gun violence in a new report, “Leading with Action: Addressing Gun Violence with Executive Authority.” The report lays out immediate actions that the Executive Branch can take without Congressional action and with existing authority to reduce gun violence.

Specifically, the report outlines recommendations that can accomplish five, overarching goals:

  1. Enhance and strengthen the Brady Background Check System;
  2. Improve gun industry oversight and accountability;
  3. Prevent the diversion of firearms to the illegal market;
  4. Reform the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and
  5. Promote public health and safety.

These actions should work in concert with comprehensive, Congressional efforts to prevent gun violence, which affects all Americans, albeit in varied and unequal ways. In anticipation of those comprehensive actions, the Executive Branch can and should take these steps immediately to reduce gun violence across the country and relieve the extraordinary burden and loss that gun violence imposes on every American, and in particular on communities of color that bear disproportionate and deleterious costs from gun violence.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“The American people have been waiting for federal action to end gun violence for too long. More than 90 percent of Americans support life saving policies like Universal Brady Background Checks, and yet we continue to see action on bipartisan bills that would do just that stall time and again. We need action now.

Congressional action to keep our country safe must remain the priority. Enshrining these policies in the full weight and authority of U.S. law is vital to ensuring that we create lasting change. But we must also face the reality that political recalcitrance and gun-lobby money has blocked meaningful Congressional action, particularly in the U.S. Senate. While that path is not closed and we will never stop working to pass meaningful gun violence prevention bills in Congress, America’s gun violence crisis cannot go unaddressed or ignored. In recognition of this, the other branches of government must take up this charge and help keep its people safe. The Executive, vested with powers delegated by Congress and by the U.S. Constitution, must therefore act. From improving enforcement to hold the gun industry accountable, to regulatory fixes that will keep Ghost Guns off of our streets, to actions that will undermine the gun trafficking that perpetuates cycles of violence and poverty in communities of color, to exploring reforms necessary to combat police violence, the President and the Executive Branch have at their disposal a suite of powers that can tangibly make our country safer and keep weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them.

We cannot wait any longer for action to prevent gun violence. It’s why every American who wants to see federal action to change our nation’s gun laws must head to the polls in November. It is why this country deserves the kind of decisive leadership necessary to move forward to keep our country safe.”

Brady will continue to work at all levels and across all branches of government to enact meaningful law and policy to prevent gun violence. However, key to this comprehensive effort is the complimentary work that must be done on the ground to ensure our nation’s elected officials truly represent and advance the interests of their constituents. Threats to our democracy, such as the denial of voting rights, access to the ballot, and the influence of money in electoral politics are tangible roadblocks to achieving that goal. The effort to strengthen our nation’s gun safety laws and ensuring that all citizens’ voices are heard are inseparable.

Specific Recommendations:

Enhance and Strengthen the Brady Background Check System

  1. Limit the private sales exception to those who sell 5 or fewer firearms a year to unlicensed individuals for profit.
  2. Instruct ATF to broaden its interpretation of the term “firearm” to include unfinished frames and receivers which are designed and marketed to be converted into firearms.
  3. Instruct ATF to expand the prohibition against firearms possession to include individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence against dating partners regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  4. Instruct the DOJ to clarify that fugitives from justice, regardless of whether or not they have crossed state lines, are prohibited from purchasing guns.
  5. Instruct ATF to allow dealers whose licenses have been revoked only two options with regard to their remaining inventory of firearms: 1) sell their firearms to another FFL, or 2) surrender their inventory to ATF.

Gun Industry Oversight and Accountability

  1. Instruct ATF to overhaul its internal standards for issuing remedial actions — including license revocations — so that repeat and serious violators are no longer permitted to sell guns to the public.
  2. Direct ATF to require that FFLs perform annual background checks on all employees who transfer or may transfer firearms.
  3. Require that ATF share FFL inspection data with state and local law enforcement on a regular basis.
  4. Instruct the Attorney General to prioritize legal action against the gun industry for violations of federal law.
  5. Direct federal agencies to procure firearms solely from manufacturers, distributors, and dealers that have adopted safe business practices, and mandate that the FFLs in their distribution chains implement these policies and standards.
  6. Return regulatory authority of arms exports back to the State Department.

Prevent the Diversion of Firearms to the Illegal Market

  1. Direct ATF to interpret the phrase “statistical aggregate data” in the Tiahrt Amendments to include the aggregate number of crime gun traces on a per dealer basis, and to include information about the largest crime gun suppliers in the annual state trafficking reports.
  2. Direct ATF to assess the terms of all MOUs with state and local law enforcement agencies regarding the use of eTrace data and ensure that no provisions place any restrictions on state and local use of trace data that are not necessary to comply with the language of Tiahrt.
  3. Instruct ATF to require all states to report multiple sales of long guns so that it can identify traffickers and the dealers that facilitate gun trafficking.
  4. Direct ATF to permit entities with eTrace logins to share trace data across state lines.

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Accountability and Reform

  1. Direct ATF to prioritize crime gun suppliers, non-compliant FFLs, and other high-risk FFLs for more frequent compliance inspections, and to formally track and report its progress on an annual basis
  2. Direct ATF to issue an annual report providing detailed information about legal violations by gun dealers, distributors, and manufacturers and how ATF has chosen to address such violations, broken down by geographic areas that correspond with ATF field divisions, to provide transparency about gun industry compliance and ATF compliance inspections.
  3. Direct ATF to release an annual updated report containing all of the same categories of information contained in the 2000 report. This would equip policymakers with information necessary to prevent violence in their communities.

Prioritize Public Health and Safety

  1. Appoint a well-qualified National Director of Gun Violence Prevention to coordinate federal responses to gun violence, a call originated by March for Our Lives.
  2. Convene a task force that would seek comprehensive, actionable solutions to police violence.
  3. Direct the CDC to adopt a methodology that provides reliable and accurate data regarding gunshot injuries.
  4. Instruct ATF to develop and issue federal guidance on firearm safety and home storage safety and encourage FFLs to provide all firearms purchasers with educational materials on safe storage options, including offsite storage that may be available in their area. Providing such information and guidance can work to change social norms and proactively prevent avoidable incidents of family fire,86 whether unintentional discharges, intentional shootings, or firearm suicide, which will save lives.
  5. Instruct ATF to develop and provide guidance, education, and suggested procedures to gun range owners and their employees to prevent incidents of gun violence onsite, as well as theft or burglary.


Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.

Back to Press Releases
Related Posts