Jill and I are saddened to hear of the loss of James Brady, our dear friend and one of the country's finest public servants. Our friendship goes back to the days when Jim was the press secretary to my former colleague, Republican Senator Bill Roth of Delaware. Even then, I valued what Presidents of both parties and the American people would later come to value in Jim: his honesty, humor, decency, and absolute courage.
It's been three decades since he nearly lost his life to an assassin's bullet fired at President Reagan from a gun bought with no background check. But through his paralysis and daily physical struggle, Jim and his wife Sarah showed a dignity, grace, and fierce determination to turn tragedy into action. Still healing himself, Jim would reach out to survivors of gun violence and other tragedies with a message of encouragement and hope on their own road to recovery. I was proud to have worked with Jim and Sarah in the 1980s and 1990s as they persevered privately to publicly lead the bipartisan consensus for commonsense efforts to keep guns out the hands of those who would use them to harm themselves or others. And I am grateful for their ongoing, rational, and heartfelt guidance as our nation continues to experience devastating gun violence tragedies, like the one at Newtown and in towns and cities across America.