Brady Survived Being Shot During Reagan Assassination Attempt & Became Leading Gun Control Advocate

Former White House Press Secretary James Brady Dead At 73

By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive

August 4, 2014 Updated Aug 4, 2014 at 10:53 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - James Brady, the former White House Secretary shot during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, died Saturday.

He was 73.

Brady and the president were both wounded in the Mar. 30, 1981. Brady would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Brady and his wife would become crusaders for gun control, and the Brady name would grace a 1995 law that requires federal background checks for firearm purchases.

The National Council to Control Handguns also rebranded itself the Brady Campaign (and Center) to Prevent Gun Violence in 2001.

Former Mayor Paul Helmke, R-Fort Wayne, served as president of the Brady Campaign from 2006 to 2011.

"He was in pain every day of his life for the last 33 years," Helmke remembered of Brady. "But every time I'd see him, it'd be the thumbs up and the smile; and he'd tell a joke. To fight through the pain and to have that kind of an attitude shows that's what each of us should do with our lives, too."

John Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the assassination attempt, and has stayed at a Virginia mental hospital since then.

Despite his injuries, Brady remained press secretary through Reagan's two terms. In 2000, the White House Press Briefing Room was dedicated to Brady.

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