James Brady passed away yesterday at age 73. Brady was shot during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and later became an advocate for gun control laws. The gun used in the attempt was a .22LR caliber purchased legally from a Texas pawn shop by John Hinkley, Jr. Hinkley had never been committed to a mental institution and had no criminal record prior to the incident.
In looking back Hinkley purchased the pistol on October 3, 1980 and attempted to assassinate Reagan on March 31, 1981. One of the gun control measures the Brady campaign pushed for was a waiting period. Unless the waiting period was longer than 6 months it would not have stopped this event. Background checks have also been a hallmark of the campaign. With no criminal record nor history of mental illness any check would not have provided any indication to stop a purchase. Hinkley used “Devastator” cartridges with a bullet designed to explode on impact. None of the .22LR bullets fired by Hinkley exploded so removing those cartridges from the market would not have changed the outcome. I’m struggling to find any enacted or proposed gun control measure which would have stopped this event. Gun control only affects individuals who are law-abiding citizens.