James Brady, former White House Press Secretary, dead at 73

James Brady, former White House Press Secretary, dead at 73

JAMES BRADY:Former White House Press Secretary James Brady gives a thumbs-up to everyone as he visits the White House press briefing room in Washington March 30, 2011. Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing

This March 30, 1981 photo shows White House press secretary James Brady, face down at right, and Washington, D.C., police officer Thomas Delahanty, front, lie on the ground after being wounded during the assassination attempt on President Reagan as he was leaving the Washington Hilton. (AP Photo/White House, Michael Evans)

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) – James Brady, a former presidential press secretary critically wounded in the assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan, has died, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday. He was 73.

Brady became a leading gun control crusader after the March 30, 1981, attack that left him partially paralyzed due to brain damage. Jennifer Fuson, deputy director of media relations for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said staff members were still waiting to learn the circumstances of his death.

Brady spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair after being shot, but, with wife Sarah, campaigned for a gun law that would be known as the “Brady bill.”

The law, which was passed in 1993, required a mandatory five-day waiting period for purchase of handguns and also background checks for would-be gun buyers.

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Reagan was two months into his presidency when John Hinckley Jr. drew a $29 handgun outside a Washington hotel and wounded the president, Brady, a Secret Service member and a Washington police officer.

Reagan and police guards fully recovered but Brady – known for his jovial manner and fondly nicknamed “the Bear” – was critically wounded from the .22-caliber bullet that exploded into his forehead.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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