James Brady, Advocate for Tougher Gun Laws, Dies

     (CN) – James S. Brady, the White House press secretary wounded during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, has died.
     His death in Alexandria, Va. at 73 was confirmed by Jennifer Fuson, a spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization Brady and his wife Sarah founded to push for tighter federal regulations on guns.
     Twelve years after the shooting, which occurred outside a Washington D.C. hotel on a rainy Monday afternoon, March 30, 1981, Congress passed The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, mandating background checks and waiting periods for gun buyers.
     Brady was struck by bullets fired by John W. Hinckley Jr., who had hoped that shooting the president would impress the actress Jodie Foster, upon on whom he had a fixation.
     Reagan, who was also hit, was shoved into waiting limousine by a Secret Service agent, but Brady fell to ground gravely wounded. For a time several news outlets reported that he had been killed, reports that prompted an angry, on-air outburst from ABC Television’s Frank Reynolds who had to retract them only moments later.
     In fact, Brady, who had been shot in the head, was the most seriously injured of Hinckley’s victims.
     The bullet, which damaged the right side of his brain, left him partially paralyzed on his left side, impaired his speech and ruined his short-term memory.
     Afterwards he famously said, “What I was, I am not now. What I was, I will never be again.”
     President Reagan was shot in the chest and lower right arm in the attack, sufferng a punctured lung and serious internal bleeding. However, he recovered quickly due to prompt medical attention at George Washington University Hospital.
     Hinckley was later found not guilty by reason of insanity and has resided at St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital in Washington ever since. His patient privileges have grown steadily over the years from unsupervised day visits with his parents outside the hospital to spending the night with them within 50 miles of D.C., under watch by Secret Service.
     In January 2014, a federal judge granted him permission for more frequent visits to his elderly mother’s home in Virginia.

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