Sarah Brady of Rehoboth Beach says she was “stunned and saddened” to learn about the Arizona shootings that killed six people and left Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords critically injured. She has a special connection with the shooting victims and their families. Her husband Jim Brady was shot in the head during the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan nearly 30 years ago.
Mrs. Brady says the type of large-capacity magazine used by the gunman, Jared Loughner, was previously prohibited under the Brady Law that also banned assault weapons. The legislation enacted during the Clinton administration was allowed to expire in 2004 during the presidency of George W. Bush.
“To think that in a matter of seconds, 20 people were shot, six killed, is just amazing,” Brady says.
“It’s not a matter of banning guns by any means, or of taking away peoples’ right to keep and bear arms,” Mrs. Brady says. “It’s just a matter of regulations.”
She would, however, like to see a ban on large-capacity gun magazines restored. “For goodness sakes, how many people need more than three or five rounds in a weapon?” Mrs. Brady asks.
Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) are sponsoring legislation to ban the magazines. Mrs. McCarthy’s husband was killed and her son seriously wounded during a mass shooting on a Long Island Railroad train in 1993.
Mrs. Brady hopes to see mounting pressure on elected officials to consider such a restriction. She’d also like to see more thorough background checks of people who try to purchase a gun.
While she is hopeful, Mrs. Brady is not all that confident that the political will exists to overcome expected opposition from groups like the National Rifle Association to such efforts.
“It took us seven years to pass the Brady Law, which was just asking for background checks,” she says, adding that the challenge will be to encourage citizens to contact their members of Congress in sufficient numbers.
“I hope that’s different this time, but I’m a little fearful of it.”