Gun Control Advocate James Brady Dies at Age 73

James Brady, the former White House press secretary who was shot and partially paralyzed during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan and went on to found the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has died at the age of 73, members of his family confirmed on Monday.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim ‘Bear’ Brady has passed away after a series of health issues,” read the statement released by his family. “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 forced to live in a wheelchair after being shot in 1981 when John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan, under whom Brady served as White House press secretary.

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Subsequent to the shooting, Brady and his wife Sarah founded the Brady Campaign to advocate for better gun control and safety laws . In 1993, the landmark Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act—known simply as “the Brady Bill”— was signed into law by Congress. As originally intended, the law mandated a five-day waiting period and a background check before a prospective buyer could purchase a handgun.

In the wake of a growing number of mass shootings in the country—and despite the virtual stranglehold of the powerful National Rifle Association and the gun lobby—the Brady Campaign has remained a steady voice for stronger legislative measures to combat the national scourge of gun violence in the United States.