On 30th Anniversary of Reagan Shooting, Bradys Continue Fight Against Gun Violence

VIDEO: A Look at the Assassination Attempt on Reagan
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It was 30 years ago today that Jim Brady's life changed forever.

Then 40, Brady had recently become White House spokesman. But one day in Washington, a gunman fired at President Ronald Reagan, wounding the president and Brady.

Ever since, Brady and his wife Sarah have been crusading to prevent gun violence, an effort they renewed today on Capitol Hill.

"I used to be a track runner. No more," Jim Brady said at a press conference on Capitol Hill today. "But I'm not going to run away from this."

Brady was left partially paralyzed by the attack. Asked what he remembers most about that day, Brady replied, "Not being the same person that I was."

"That moment, I can only tell you, changed our lives forever in so many different ways," Sarah Brady said.

In 1993 the Bradys succeeded in getting President Bill Clinton to sign the Brady Law that mandated background checks on handguns bought at federally licensed dealers. But the January 8 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson – when over 30 shots were fired in under 15 seconds – reinforced their views that Congress must do more. Now they are lobbying lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

"They need to step up to the plate and do the right thing and that is support these common-sense bills," Sarah Brady said.

"I would not be sitting here in this damn wheelchair if we had common-sense legislation," said her husband.

"Fight fiercely," he urged.

Leading the charge to ban high-capacity clips in the wake of the Giffords shooting are Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.

"Thirty years ago today we learned that no one is safe from gun violence in this country," Lautenberg said.

"The Bradys made our country safer, but we still have a long way to go."

"When will we ever learn to do things to curb this violence?"

But to date the Democrats' push has not generated support from Republicans. The NRA and gun lobbying groups – dubbed "the Evil Empire" by Jim Brady – have opposed the measure to prohibit high-capacity clips such as the one used in the Tucson incident.

"How could you look yourself in the mirror and say I believe in high-capacity magazines for God's sake?" asked Sarah Brady.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in the three decades since the assassination attempt, an estimated 2.8 million people have been shot in the United States and 1 million of them have died. Since the tragic Tucson shooting, over 2,000 Americans have lost their lives to gun violence.

In an op-ed earlier this month in the Arizona Daily Star, President Obama wrote, "Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society. And as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to it."

The president voiced confidence that common sense can help Americans unite behind meaningful gun reform laws, including a national instant criminal background check system that would reward the states that provide the best data.

"Clearly, there's more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people," Obama said.

After lobbying members of Congress this afternoon, Brady, who appeared to be tearing up at times during today's news conference, will head over to the White House, where the briefing room bears his name.

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