Sarah Brady, chairman, Handgun Control, Inc.,
James Brady, former White House Press Secretary
SARAH BRADY: Jim, we must have made a wrong turn. This
isn't San Diego.
JAMES BRADY: Sarah, I told you, this is the Democrat
SARAH BRADY: You're right, and we thank you deeply for this
Fifteen years ago, Jim was White House press secretary. Our
son, Scott, who's up here, was just two years old. All our
dreams had come true.
But then one rainy afternoon in March, our dreams were
shattered by an assassination attempt on President Reagan.
President Reagan was shot, and so was Jim. We almost lost Jim
that day, and we almost lost the president.
But thanks to the heroism of the Secret Service and the
determination of the physicians and staff at George Washington
Hospital, Jim lived. And so did the president, thank God.
But our lives would never be quite the same. All it took was
one gun, one bullet, and one man who should never have owned a
Every year in this country, nearly 40,000 Americans are
killed with a firearm. More than 100,000 are wounded. Every
two hours another child is killed with a firearm, and with each
death and each wound, another American dream, another American
family is shattered.
This must stop.
Jim and I decided that we should do something about it -- not
as Republicans, but as Americans. I became chair of Handgun
Control and Jim and I joined together in speaking out against
We've traveled from coast to coast during the past 10 years.
We've met thousands of gun violence victims and their families.
Their stories continue to break our hearts, especially those
involving the children. That's why we supported legislation
that would require a waiting period for the purchase of a
The idea was simple. Establish a cooling off period and give
police the time they need to conduct a background check on the
Introduced in 1987, the Brady Bill was an overnight success.
Every major law enforcement group endorsed it. So did former
presidents Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon. In fact, nine out
of 10 Americans supported a waiting period. It just made sense.
But year after year, the gun lobby defeated the Brady Bill.
The National Rifle Association said that seven days, or even
seven hours, was just too long to wait to buy a handgun.
SARAH BRADY: It was an inconvenience. Well, listen, our
family can tell the gun lobby a little bit about inconvenience.
... and about the despair and the pain that can result from a
gunshot wound. But don't take our word for it. Ask anyone
whose life has been touched by gun violence.
In 1991, both houses of Congress passed the Brady bill. Oh,
Jim and I were elated. But the gun lobby and the threat of a
presidential veto again killed the Brady bill. We quickly
learned the value of having a president who is really committed
to putting an end to gun violence.
And four years ago the American people elected just such a
President Bill Clinton in his first State of the Union
address told Congress, if you pass the Brady bill I'll sure sign
After seven long years, Congress finally passed the Brady
bill and President Clinton kept his promise. He signed it into
Thank you, thank you Mr. President. That moment was the
proudest moment of our lives. And let me tell you why. Since
the Brady law went into effect on February 28, 1994, the Brady
law has stopped more than 100,00 convicted felons and other
prohibited purchasers from buying a handgun.
One hundred thousand. Today, and everyday, the Brady law is
stopping an estimated 85 felons from buying a handgun.
But we need to do more. We should, as President Clinton
proposed today, stop people convicted of domestic violence from
buying a handgun.
Jim and I are proud to join with you tonight in saluting the
great job that President Clinton has done in fighting crime and
violence. He's a hunter...
... and he's a sportsman, but he understands the difference
between a Remington rifle and a AK-47.
And he knows that you don't go hunting with an Uzi.
SARAH BRADY: Mr. President, you deserve our thanks.
JAMES BRADY: And a big bear (PH) thumbs up.
SARAH BRADY: But gun violence is not a Democrat or a
Republican problem; it's a problem that effects each and every
one of us. Yes, it was a Democrat Congress which passed the
Brady bill, and a Democrat president who signed it, but we could
never have passed the Brady bill without the support of a lot of
Republicans, including former President Ronald Reagan.
And we could never have passed it without the support of the
law enforcement community.
But now we need your help. This battle is not about guns,
it's about families, it's about children, it's about our future.
You can't have stronger families without safer children. The
gun lobby likes to say that Jim and I are trying to take guns
away from hunters and sportsmen. The gun lobby is wrong. To
the hunters and sportsmen of America we say, keep your guns.
But just give us the laws that we need to keep guns out of the
hands of criminals and out of the hands of children.
In 1968 Senator Robert Kennedy expressed his great optimism
about ending gun violence in America. He told a crowd of
supporters in Los Angeles that we're a great country, an
unselfish country, a compassionate country. Moments later an
assassin's bullet took his life. But he was right then and he
is right now.
SARAH BRADY: We are a great country. We're a compassionate
country. Jim and I are full of hope. With all of us working
together, we can restore peace in our neighborhoods. We can
eliminate random gun violence and we can preserve the American
dream for all of us. But please don't do it for Sarah and Jim
JAMES BRADY: Do it for all our children.
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