The Honorable James Brady: 15th White House Press Secretary, the first face of gun control, dies at 73

Speaking 1996 Democratic Convention
Speaking 1996 Democratic Convention

WASHINGTON, AUGUST 4, 20144 – James Brady, White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, became well-known to Americans after he was shot in an assassination attempt against Reagan in 1981. America prayed for the recovery Brady as well as Reagan. Mr. Brady has now died at the age 73.

“Jim touched the lives of so many and has been a wonderful husband, father, friend and role model,” his family said in a statement. “We are enormously proud of Jim’s remarkable accomplishments – before he was shot on the fateful day in 1981 while serving at the side of President Ronald Reagan and in the days, months and years that followed. Jim Brady’s zest for life was apparent to all who knew him, and despite his injuries and the pain he endured every day, he used his humor, wit and charm to bring smiles to others and make the world a better place.”

Brady was the first real face to the gun control debate after suffering a head wound during John Hinckley’s murderous act. Hinckley’s first shot hit Brady in the head, leaving him paralyzed on his left side.

Confined to a wheelchair after being shot and Brady and his wife Sarah, Chair of Handgun Control, Inc., went on to become a leading voice for gun control. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, which requires a five-day waiting period and background check on handgun buyers, into law in 1993.

The briefing room at the White House is named for the former press secretary who retained his title throughout the Reagan presidency.

Josh Earnst reflected on the respect and admiration he held for Mr. Brady saying he “revolutionized this job.”

Mr. Brady was born in Centralia, Illinois, August 29, 1940. He was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1962, where he earned a B.S. degree in Communications and Political Science. Mr. Brady is survived by his wife, the former Sarah Kemp, his son Scott and daughter Melissa.  The condolences of everyone at Communities Digital News to the family and friends of Mr. Brady.

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