During the seven years between the passage of the Brady Bill and the end of President Clinton’s second term in office, gun-related crimes dropped by 40 percent nationwide. According to an archived webpage from the Clinton-Gore White House, the Brady Bill’s mandated background checks had “prevented more than 611,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers from buying a gun.” Using these figures, the Clinton administration concluded that the strong points of the Brady bill (background checks and a five-day waiting period) had successfully prevented criminals from purchasing guns.   

Then and Now
Read the Clinton-Gore administration’s Record of Progress report on crime to see the ways that the Brady Bill and other gun control laws reduced gun-related crime in the United States.

In 1996, James and Sarah Brady made an appearance at the Democratic National Convention to speak in support of President Clinton’s work on gun control during his first term.  Months later, President Clinton stated that this cross-party appearance of a Republican President’s Press Secretary “showed us all that keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals is a non-partisan issue.”

In September 1996, James Brady was one of eleven people to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – in appreciation for his ten years of work lobbying for the Brady Bill. In a draft speech for the occasion, President Clinton said that “Jim Brady’s courage and commitment to a safer America” was “one of the great portraits of our age.”

Watch the full Presidential Medal of Freedom Presentation Ceremony  to see President Clinton award the medal to James Brady (16:00). Click here to read longer remarks for James Brady’s medal in a speechwriting draft. 

On February 11, 2000, James Brady received further recognition from President Clinton, when the White House Press Briefing Room was rededicated as the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. In honor of the occasion, a bronze plaque was unveiled with the following inscription:

"This room is named in honor of James S. Brady, White House Press Secretary from January 23, 1981 until January 20, 1989.

Mr. Brady served his nation with honor and distinction, strengthening the bond between government and press.

May his courage and dedication continue to inspire all who work in this room and beyond.

Plaque is Unveiled
President Clinton presents James Brady with a replica of the plaque that will be hung permanently in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. Read President Clinton’s remarks from the ceremony here

James Brady passed away on August 4, 2014, due to complications from the wound he had sustained 33 years earlier when John Hinkley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Reagan.  His legacy lives on with the Brady Bill, which continues to prevent felons from legally purchasing a handgun. The Brady Bill’s journey from an idea to law was a complicated path through each of the three branches of government over a long, ten-year period.  With the support of President Clinton and his administration, congressional Democrats were able to jumpstart efforts to reintroduce the Brady Bill and earn enough support for its passage through Congress in less than a year. On September 10, 1996, at the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, President Clinton remarked that the signing of the Brady Bill was “one of the proudest moments of my presidency."

[Back To Home]
[Timeline of the Brady Bill]