Gun control campaigner Sarah Brady dies aged 73

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sarah Brady, pictured far right in 2006
Image: White House.

Sarah Brady, gun control campaigner and widow of former US White House Press Secretary James Brady, has died at the age of 73. Her death was announced by the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Brady died on Friday after a battle with pneumonia according to e-mails sent by her family.

A statement by the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence was posted on Facebook. It said "We are heartbroken over the loss of Sarah Brady, our dear friend and Chairperson of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Sarah was a champion for gun violence prevention and her commitment and fiery compassion will live on."

On March 30, 1981 , Sarah Brady's husband, James, was injured in a shooting attempted assassination of US President Ronald Reagan. A bullet entered his head and lodged in his brain. He suffered severe injuries and was partially paralyzed for the remainder of his life. The attack by John W. Hinckley Jr. also injured three more people, including President Reagan.

In the years after the shooting, Sarah Brady became an advocate for gun control laws, and in 1989 vice chair of Handgun Control, Inc. In 2001 Handgun Control, Inc. became known as the Brady Campaign in tribute of both Sarah and James' efforts in fighting for tougher gun control. Brady said "the proudest moment of our lives" was in 1993 when President Bill Clinton signed into effect the Brady Bill, tightening gun law legislation.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan released a statement regarding the death of her "dear friend" Sarah Brady. She said "Over the years, I found her to be a woman of immense courage, strength and optimism. I will miss Sarah very much, but take comfort in knowing that she joined Jim on Good Friday and is now at peace."

Another tribute came from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords, who was was shot in the head and nearly killed in 2011, said "We know Sarah will be missed by all those whose lives she touched and who were so inspired by her commitment to her late husband Jim and to the cause of reducing gun violence in our country[...] Sarah Brady showed us not only what a tireless fight for common sense looks like, but also what it means to be a loving spouse and caretaker in the wake of a senseless tragedy. Our prayers are with her son Scott, her daughter Missy, and the entire Brady Campaign family as they mourn this devastating loss".

Brady's death has come less than a year after the death of her husband. James Brady also died at the age of 73 last August. She is survived by son James and stepdaughter Melissa.