During a White House ceremony attended by James S. Brady, President Bill Clinton signs the Brady handgun-control bill into law. The law requires a prospective handgun buyer to wait five business days while the authorities check on his or her background, during which time the sale is approved or prohibited based on an established set of criteria.
In 1981, James Brady, who served as press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head by John Hinckley, Jr., during an attempt on President Reagan’s life outside a hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan himself was shot in his left lung but recovered and returned to the White House within two weeks. Brady, the most seriously injured in the attack, was momentarily pronounced dead at the hospital but survived and began an impressive recovery from his debilitating brain injury.
During the 1980s, Brady became a leading proponent of gun-control legislation and in 1987 succeeded in getting a bill introduced into Congress. The Brady Bill, as it became known, was staunchly opposed by many congressmen, who, in reference to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, questioned the constitutionality of regulating the ownership of arms. In 1993, with the support of President Bill Clinton, an advocate of gun control, the Brady Bill became law.