Brady Bill Signing
President Clinton signs the Brady Bill into law as James Brady looks on. 

On November 30th, 1993, President Clinton signed the Brady Bill into law, upholding his campaign promise to “keep guns out of the hands of criminals.” The bill was considered an early success for the Clinton administration’s domestic policy agenda, however, less than five years later it was challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, where a significant portion was struck down.
This digital exhibit allows you to explore the Brady Bill’s path from its beginnings in 1981 to the U.S Supreme Court’s judgement in 1997.  The path of the Brady Bill, which traveled through all three branches of the federal government, is a story of legislative processes, executive influence, and judicial review, told through primary sources taken from the National Archives and the records from the Clinton administration.    

Click on a chapter below to explore further: 


Chapter One: “Six Shots at a Nation’s Heart”


Chapter Two: “If You Will Pass the Brady Bill, I’ll Sure Sign It”


Chapter Three: The Legislative Process


Chapter Four: “The Brady Bill Has Finally Become Law”


Chapter Five: “The Petitioners Object to Being Pressed into Federal Service” 


Chapter Six: “Jim Brady Has Never Stopped Moving Us with His Courage” 


Timeline of the Brady Bill