Brady Law Requires Background Checks

1994

The Brady Law is named for former Presidential press secretary James Brady, who was seriously wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The law requires federally licensed firearm dealers to perform background checks with law enforcement officials before selling a firearm. During the background check, officials confirm whether the buyer falls within a category of individuals prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm by state law or the 1968 Gun Control Act. In Printz v. United States (1997) the U.S. Supreme Court holds that the Brady Law’s waiting-period requirement is constitutional, but finds that the mandatory background checks required of local authorities are unconstitutional.