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Dennis A. Henigan
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Dennis A. Henigan is Director of Legal and Policy Analysis at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and formerly a Vice President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. He is the author of Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People and Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control (Beacon Press 2016).

For over twenty years, he was a leading advocate for stronger gun laws, appearing dozens of times on national television and radio shows, including 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Nightline, Larry King Live and Dateline. He also has written and spoken extensively on liability and constitutional issues relating to gun laws and gun violence, including testifying before several Congressional Committees.

Under his direction, Brady Center lawyers recovered millions of dollars in damages for gun violence victims, as well as winning precedent-setting decisions on the liability of gun sellers. In 2004, he was named one of the top ten “Lawyers of the Year” by Lawyers’ Weekly magazine. His work as a public interest lawyer has been profiled in The New Yorker.

Henigan received his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1973 and his law degree in 1977 from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to joining the Brady Center in 1989, he was a partner in the law firm of Foley & Lardner.

Entries by Dennis A. Henigan

The "Second-Class" Second Amendment Right

(100) Comments | Posted June 30, 2016 | 12:02 PM

In the final day of its term, the Supreme Court decided a gun case, while managing to sidestep the Second Amendment. In Voisine v. Unites States, by a 6-2 vote, the Court gave an expansive reading to the federal law prohibiting gun possession by persons convicted of a...

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Changing the Politics of Guns

(126) Comments | Posted June 17, 2016 | 10:19 PM

We are in the middle of our recurring national nightmare. We would like to wake up and make it go away, but we can't. Incomprehensible carnage from the barrel of a gun. Impassioned demands for action to be taken by those we elect to protect us. Political intimidation by the...

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Guns Make Killing Easy

(297) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 6:28 PM

I am sitting here, in my only orange shirt, in observation of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and my thoughts turn to the New York Times' remarkable recent study of 358 shootings last year in which four or more people were killed or wounded. As the Times noted,...

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The Jim Brady Effect

(4) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 10:30 PM

The passing of Jim Brady, former presidential press secretary and icon of the gun control movement, has saddened us all. I had the privilege of working with Jim and Sarah Brady for much of my professional life. Politico asked me to share my thoughts about Jim's gun control legacy. Here...

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It Was Done on Tobacco. It Can Be Done on Guns

(1156) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 3:08 PM

I spent twenty-three proud years of my life as a lawyer and advocate for the gun control cause. Countless times, after egregious acts of mass violence with guns were followed by cowardly excuses for inaction by our political leaders, I would wonder: What will it take? What kind of horror...

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Republican Platform on Guns: What Would Reagan Say?

(102) Comments | Posted August 30, 2012 | 4:09 PM

This week Jim Brady, former press secretary to Ronald Reagan, eloquently called on the Republican Party to reconnect with the true legacy of Ronald Reagan on the gun issue and work with Democrats to support sensible gun laws. He reminded Republicans that President Reagan not only supported the Brady...

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Tell the Candidates: We Want Solutions to the Gun Madness

(250) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 4:30 PM

Our nation seems caught in a never-ending, inescapable loop of random mass tragedy and destruction. Every few months, we endure it all again. The first special reports on cable news about a shooting. The first video of the location, a school, a grocery store, a movie theater. The sirens and...

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How About If We Hold Congress in Contempt?

(188) Comments | Posted June 18, 2012 | 11:46 AM

As a House Committee prepares to vote on a resolution citing Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress over documents sought about the botched "Fast and Furious" gun trafficking operation, the American people should be wondering: Why is there no mechanism for us to hold the Congress in contempt?...

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Some State AGs Would Rather Please the NRA Than Enforce the Law

(789) Comments | Posted May 25, 2012 | 2:14 PM

Lining up public officials in support of legislation is standard fare for interest groups advancing their agenda on Capitol Hill. But the letter signed by 23 state Attorneys General in support of the National Rifle Association's bill to nationalize concealed carry of handguns suggests that, for those public officials,...

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The VA Tells the Truth About Guns. The NRA Can't Handle It.

(389) Comments | Posted May 16, 2012 | 10:45 AM

Who can forget the climactic courtroom scene in a A Few Good Men, where Jack Nicholson's character, Col. Nathan Jessup, responds to a demand for the truth from a cross-examining Tom Cruise with the classic line, "You can't handle the truth"? It came immediately to mind when I read about...

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Why the NRA Wants the Trayvon Martin Case to Go Away

(1502) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 3:20 PM

When the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre finally spoke out about the Trayvon Martin shooting, it was to decry the media's coverage of the tragedy as "sensational reporting from Florida." It's understandable that the NRA would be uncomfortable with the intense media attention to this particular shooting tragedy.

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Shooting of Florida Teen Shows Danger of Maryland Judge's Renegade Ruling

(867) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 12:13 PM

Recently Judge Benson Everett Legg of Maryland became the first federal judge to hold there is a Second Amendment right to carry a gun outside the home. Only days before, Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager, lay dead from a shooting that dramatically illustrates the price in lives we will...

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School Kids Dying in Ohio: It's a Gun Problem

(370) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 1:55 PM

Once again, the nation's attention has been captured by a horrific act of violence. Gunfire in a high school. A teenager killing teenagers. Any family's worst nightmare. Chardon, Ohio, will never be quite the same.

Inevitably, the question on most people's minds is "Why?" What possibly could have caused...

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Calderon's Billboard of Crime Guns, and What It Means

(305) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 11:29 AM

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon unveiled a giant billboard, made with three tons of crushed firearms used in drug violence and visible from the American side of the border, exclaiming, "No More Weapons!" It was yet another plea to the United States to enact the strong gun laws...

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Even "Gun Rights" Judge Can't Stomach NRA Extremism

(844) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 9:53 AM

It is hard to find a federal judge more friendly to "gun rights" than Judge Sam Cummings of Lubbock, Texas. Yet even Judge Cummings refuses to follow the NRA off the cliff of Second Amendment extremism.

Judge Cummings achieved iconic status in the "gun rights" community in 1999 when, in...

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Gun Industry Suffers Stinging Defeat in Court

(1090) Comments | Posted January 19, 2012 | 12:57 PM

Last week, a federal judge in Washington handed the gun industry a painful legal setback in its efforts to prevent the Obama Administration from attacking the highly-profitable trafficking of assault rifles to the Mexican drug cartels.

Judge Rosemary Collyer -- who, incidentally, was appointed by George W. Bush --

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No Season of Peace from Gun Violence

(815) Comments | Posted December 29, 2011 | 5:06 PM

For most Americans, the holiday season is about the peaceful enjoyment of family and friends, those who mean the most to us in our daily lives. But even this season of peace knows no respite from the plague of gun violence. For too many Americans, this holiday season will be...

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Too Many Victims of Gun Violence: Light a Candle on Jan. 8

(96) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 10:18 AM

It is now almost one year since Tucson and the nation were traumatized by a gunman outside a Safeway. Six dead, including a nine-year-old girl. Thirteen wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose courageous steps toward recovery inspire us all. Yet the gunfire continues, in...

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A Gun Lobby Bill That Conservatives Should Hate

(565) Comments | Posted November 28, 2011 | 12:52 PM

Packing Heat ReportThe first piece of gun-related legislation to reach a vote in Congress since the Tucson massacre has passed the House and may be taken up soon by the Senate.

Is it a bill to ban the high-capacity assault...

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Let's Commit to Stop the Pain and Toll of Gun Violence

(287) Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 3:35 PM

Carson City Victims

"This kind of pain -- there's no medicine," said the grandmother of Major Heath Kelly, who, along with Christian Riege, Miranda McElhiney, and Florence Donovan-Gunderson, lost his life in the mass shooting at the Carson City IHOP last month.

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