WASHINGTON — Jim Brady, President Ronald Reagan's smooth-talking press secretary, hasn't stopped speaking his mind, forcefully and poignantly, and that was clear Wednesday on the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt that paralyzed him.
"I wouldn't be here in this damn wheelchair if we had common-sense legislation," he said Wednesday at a Capitol Hill news conference, joined by his wife, Sarah, and lawmakers in calling for gun control legislation. The Bradys head the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"Fight fiercely," Brady, 70, told the audience.
The gunman, John Hinckley Jr., tried to kill Reagan and shot Brady in the head during the attack outside a Washington hotel.
Hinckley, who said he was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster, also wounded a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer. Hinckley was declared mentally incompetent and consigned to a Washington mental institution where he remains today, with family visiting rights.
Asked what he remembers about that day, Brady said, "Not being the same person that I was. I used to be a track runner. No more. But I am not going to run away from this."
The Bradys were joined by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., who have introduced bills to ban the kinds of large-capacity assault clips used in the January attack in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Secret Service website with audio: http://tinyurl.com/688a46z
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: http://www.bradycampaign.org/