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James Brady Dies; Leaves Legacy With Gun Control

Updated: Tuesday, August 5 2014, 10:57 AM CDT

The man who helped revolutionize gun control in America has died. Monday, James Brady, the first White House press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, passed away at the age of 73.

He was shot during an assassination attempt on the President and later became an advocate for gun control.

"He's somebody I think really revolutionized this job and even after he was wounded in that attack on the President, he was somebody who showed his patriotism and commitment to the country by being very outspoken on an issue that was important to him and that he felt very strongly about," said Josh Earnest, the current White House press secretary.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence helped pass the Brady bill in 1993; a law signed by President Bill Clinton that required background checks on firearm purchases from a licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer.

It also created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is maintained by the FBI and a tool law enforcement around the country use daily.

Sangamon county Undersheriff Jack Campbell said, "It helps certainly in law enforcement because we want to know if somebody has the propensity to commit crimes in the past, especially violent felony crimes, are not allowed to legally possess guns now so that's very large in law enforcement and for public safety in general."

Since President Bill Clinton signed the Brady bill, murders with guns have gone down more than 39-percent; according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Some people believe the economy or drug trade is directly tied to that also but you certainly can't deny the fact that gun violence has come down," Campbell said.

Monday, the head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said because of James Brady's work on gun control, "an estimated two-million gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers and other dangerous people have been blocked" and "countless lives have been saved."

James Brady Dies; Leaves Legacy With Gun Control

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