Jim and Sarah Brady sound optimistic on Giffords
January 12th, 2011
07:25 PM ET
12 years ago

Jim and Sarah Brady sound optimistic on Giffords

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (CNN) - Nearly 30 years after he was shot in the head during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, former White House Press Secretary Jim Brady knows what U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is going through.

"Been there. Know that," Jim Brady said. "Sounds like she's got a great support group that's right there with her and that means a lot," he said.

Brady and his wife, Sarah, are keeping a close eye on Giffords' progress, noting the congresswoman's remarkable recovery so far. Jim Brady also showed signs of rapid improvement in the days after he was wounded.

"We know for her it's going to be a long haul. But I know she's a fighter and she's going to be great," Sarah Brady said.

There are other parallels between Brady's shooting and the attack on Giffords. In the hours after the attempt on President Reagan's life, several news outlets mistakenly reported Brady had died. The same happened with Giffords as several media outlets, including CNN, reported she had been killed. Brady was 40 years old at the time of the shooting, the same age as Giffords.

Reagan's attempted assassin, John Hinkley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. By most accounts, alleged Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner has suffered from mental health issues.

The Bradys have spent decades lobbying Congress to pass tougher gun control legislation. Their biggest successes came in the 1990s with the passage of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban. The Brady Bill originally called for a five-day waiting period before Americans could buy guns, a precursor to the FBI background checks conducted at gun shops today.

Noting that the Assault Weapons Ban once outlawed the extended magazine clips that were allegedly used in the Tucson shooting, the Bradys argue new gun laws are now needed.

"We just haven't had and we've got to have the political courage to take that step," Sarah Brady said.

With the influence of the National Rifle Association on Capitol Hill, many members of Congress in both parties are reluctant to pass new gun laws.

"I think there are some wimps up there," Sarah Brady said.

Don't count the Bradys among Americans who believe political rhetoric somehow played a role in the Saturday's shootings. But Sarah Brady says the tragedy is an opportunity for national healing.

"There has been a level of discourse that I think has gotten out of hand. It's time that we come and work together. I've never seen Capitol Hill quite so divided," she said.

The Bradys say Giffords faces a lifetime of healing and recovery. At 70 and now blind, Jim Brady routinely goes to physical therapy near the couple's home on the Delaware shore.

"Life will always be good again. It may be different. But that doesn't mean it's bad," she said.

Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun rights
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Thanks Jim!

    Thank you Jim & Sarah Brady, true American patriots. It is great to see people with the courage to take a principled stand – just wish more people would stop buckling under to NRA thugs.

    January 12, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Henry Miller

    "We just haven't had and we've got to have the political courage to take that step," Sarah Brady said.

    Sorry to have to further politicise the tragedy in Tucson, but attacking the rights of gun owners isn't courageous–under the present circumstances it's merely opportunistic politicking. Further, there's no evidence, let alone proof, that more onerous gun laws will do anything to protect anyone from the Loughner's of this country,

    January 12, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    This Congresswoman's wound is the result of a demented man that shoulld be locked up and the key thrown away. She was trying to do service to our country. Not many wish to do that chore these days. Good honest politicians are hard to find and in Gifford I feel they had found one. May the Lord look over her take care of her healing and may God grant her the physical and mental powers she had before. I pray for the others who were wounded may they also be healed in the same manner. To those who lost their lives please i pray you are at peace and with you maker. May your families be able to handle your loss in a heavely manner. I know they suffer from the loss of their loved one who is now absent from their family but rest assured family that they are beside our maker. The little girl I no is God's Angel. She will forever keep looking out for her family. May God Bless each and every one of them. Please you the ones that died try and forgive all the hate talk that is coming from the hate mongers and the media who thrives off of losses such as this. We people who are supposed to be God's children are lacking in compassion and mentality that we have to keep the hate chatter up. You and you know who you are please God bring down on them the knowledge that they know not what they are saying or doing. AMEN.

    January 12, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |