Thirty-three years after he was injured by a bullet intended for President Reagan, former White House spokesman James Brady, an Illinois native, has died. Brady died Monday in Virginia at age 73. He was an Illinoisan: born in Centralia, graduated from the University of Illinois, and he taught at Southern Illinois University before going into public relations.
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After he was crippled by a brain injury in the 1981 assassination attempt, he and his wife Sarah Brady – the daughter of an FBI agent – advocated for the Brady Bill, requiring a five-day wait to buy a handgun. That law was enacted in 1993, and it expired in 1998. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence continues to this day.
The assassination attempt also wounded a Washington police officer, and secret service agent Timothy J. McCarthy, who recovered and went on to become the police chief in Orland Park. He ran for secretary of state in 1998, losing in the Democratic primary.
The assailant, John Hinckley Jr., was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is under institutional psychiatric care, though as the years have passed, he has been granted visits to the home of his parents.