One of the more controversial ideas of how to reduce gun crimes and violence in the United States is to ban large volume gun sales. The most vocal support for this movement to block bulk gun sales is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
This group was instrumental in the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993. This bill signed by President Clinton on November 30 instituted mandatory background checks upon any individual seeking to complete a gun sale.
Gun sales were prevented from being made to any peoples who had “been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; is a fugitive from justice; is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance; has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution; is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States; has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship; is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner; or has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” Gun sales of antique or collector weapons are not regulated.
The Brady Campaign believes it has found an obstacle to gun reform: bulk gun sales. A bulk gun sale is when an individual is able to buy an unlimited number of guns at a single time. There are only restrictions on the number of individual guns that can be purchased at in California, Maryland, and Virginia.
In these states, a gun sale can only involve the exchange of a single hand gun per month. The Brady Commission says that national adoption of laws restricting gun sales to one handgun per month per person would not affect the typical gun purchaser. The Campaign claims that only gun traffickers who engage in gun sales through extra-legal methods would be affected. Limitations on bulk gun sales are believed to be the most likely way to reduce the amount of gun violence.
Lobbyists who oppose limitation of a dealer’s to make a multiple gun sale claim that it would have a negative impact on hunters, gun collectors, and sportsmen by affecting their ability to make gun sales involving long rifles.
Current laws concerning gun sale are limited to the regulation of handguns, with rifles and shotguns which would minimize impact on any gun sale involving a hunter or sportsman. Gun collectors would still be able to complete gun sales which would allow them to attain a total of twelve handguns each year.
Critics of the attempt to ban bulk gun sales object to the negative portrayal of sales involving multiple guns. The American Society of Criminology released a report accusing that the Brady Commission released inaccurate data to lead to an increase in legislation against gun manufacturers. The Society’s report also claimed that the ATF incorrectly claimed in its reports that gun traffickers were more prevalent than data appears to suggest.