Gun Grabber Bio: The Brady Bunch
It’s important to understand the irrational Leftist Gun Grabbers this series helps to do that.
James and Sarah Brady:
The Brady Bunch: James Brady and Sarah Kemp Brady
What happens when a republican press secretary to the best president in the last 40 years gets shot in the head? He stays in the position of press secretary, supporting a pro gun president, until the president leaves office. At that point he joins his wife in championing gun control and eventually having one of the biggest impacts on gun control in history.
The day is March 30, 1981, and President Ronald Reagan is leaving a speech given at the D.C. Hilton hotel, just 69 days into his presidency. John Hinckley Jr., obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, and feeling some sort of attachment to Robert Deniro’s character in Taxi Driver, decides to assassinate the president. He fails at it, but just barely. The attempt is not without consequence, however, as Reagan was eventually hit with a ricocheted 6th round, and the first two rounds hit James Brady in the forehead and D.C. policeman Tom Delehanty in the neck, the fourth round hit Tim McCarthy in the stomach, and the 3rd and 5th rounds hit windows. In a heroic, perhaps life saving action, Jerry Parr, secret Service agent in charge pushed Reagan into the limo, and rushed him to the hospital a few blocks away.
The Brady Bill
That incident changed forever the way the secret service handles the President’s security and set into motion a series of events which would eventually culminate in the most restrictive gun legislation in the nation’s history via the Brady Bill and the Assault weapons ban of 1994 (incidentally the firearm used in the assassination attempt was a .22 LR 6 shot revolver).
James Brady left public office in 1989 with the Republican icon coming out of office, and went to work with his wife Sarah Kemp Brady who was already hard at work undermining the constitution. James Brady was left partially paralyzed and disabled permanently as a result of the bullet strike to the forehead, and perhaps because Reagan had been nice as to keep him in the position for the remainder of his term, he did not act on his hatred of firearms until after the presidency had concluded.
James Brady claims to have been a staunch republican all his life, and it’s probably not up for debate, as he served as the mouthpiece for one of the more conservative presidents in the modern era. He was of course converted to a liberal democrat as he moved around from 1989 to 2001 with the kinds of people who could and would champion ridiculous regulation on firearms.
The NRA and other large organizations were (prior to the 1980’s) not necessarily opposed to waiting periods/cooling off periods, and it was more an issue about setting the stage for further future regulation, than it was about really feeling the Brady Bill was out of line. The NRA and other pro-gun groups would prove to be correct, as the passing of the 1994 Assault weapons ban solidified the anti-gun momentum, and provided a tough position for sport shooters and pro gun advocates everywhere.
Instrumental in the architecture and the passing of the Brady Bill, Sarah Kemp Brady, wife of the now partially paralyzed James Brady, chaired the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, and HCI, the famous pioneer in the gun control arena.
In all reality, by many accounts from both sides of the argument, Sarah and James Brady aren’t as violently opposed to guns as they are to people having guns that shouldn’t. Initially, the duo attempted to seek a compromise in the structure of the Handgun legislation so as not to infringe too much on the constitutional rights of gun owners and to keep guns out of the hands of impulse buy killers and crazy people as well as violent felons. From the perspective of most gun owners, the 5 day cooling off period that lasted 5 years only, never really hurt them that much, and it did block approximately 600k guns from going into the hands of those who should not be owning firearms (felons, mentally ill, etc.). The 600k guns blocked by the Brady Bill equated to about 2-3% of all gun sales for the period.
It wasn’t the Brady bill that was the direct issue, and unfortunately the NRA and other anti Brady bill lobbyist and citizens were dead on with their fears. In 1994 Clinton signed into effect the Assault weapons ban, and began to hire more agents in the BATF to crack down on the FFL dealers, with a series of regulations aimed at minimizing the amount of dealers in possession of FFL’s. Subsequently, with the triumph of the assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill, several states adopted heavy regulation, with some states making the required cooling off period 15+ days, with a strict mandate on the amount of handguns able to be purchased in a month’s time. The Brady Bill has been the single most influential and impactful piece of anti-gun legislation in the history of the United States and has led to no less than 25 new laws enacted to restrict gun ownership. States like California, Illinois and New York, as well as the metro D.C. area, have all adopted Brady bill like regulations and they are just a handful of the many states and large metro areas which have looked to the Brady bill as an architect for their own state regulations.
In 2001, HCI and CPHV both were renamed in honor of the Brady’s as a result of the success of the Brady Bill and their other gun control platforms.
It’s clear from this view that the Brady Bill has been the catalyst in an ever more regulated world of gun ownership, and was the opening shot in the battle to secure constitutional rights and avoid irresponsible regulation. There have been minor wins along the way both prior to and after the enactment of the Brady Bill, but there hasn’t yet been a pro-gun legislation written and passed of the same impact as the Brady Bill and the Subsequent 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
For their work on the Infamous Brady Bill, and for continuing to stymie the pro gun crowd, the Brady’s get a place on our list of Anti Gun Figureheads.
The Brady Bill was the grandfather of modern gun control.