James Brady was on of four people shot on March 30, 1981. Brady is in the bottom of the photo with two men tending to him after shots rang out. (Source: Ronald Reagan Library)
(RNN) - James Brady, the former White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan has died at the age 73.
Brady was struck in the head by a bullet fired by John Hinckley intended for the president 69 days into Reagan's first term on March 30, 1981. Brady survived, and was in the hospital for nine months after he was shot. He was forced to use a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.
Brady was allowed to keep the title of pres secretary and his salary until Reagan left office, according to the Associated Press.
He and his wife, Sarah, formed the Brady Campaign after the shooting in an effort to prevent gun violence. The initiative's signature achievement came in 1993 with the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, nicknamed the Brady Bill.
The law required every sale of a gun from a licensed buyer be referred to law enforcement for a background check. According to the Brady Campaign's website, more than 2 million attempts by prohibited buyers to purchase guns have been prohibited since the Brady Bill's enactment.
Brady received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton in 1996. Clinton was also the president who signed Brady's namesake law three years prior.
Nicknamed "The Bear," Brady was born in Centralia, IL on Aug. 28, 1940. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in political science, and began his career in public service and politics immediately after graduation.
Working his way up the political ladder, Brady worked for the Housing and Urban Development, Office of Management and Budget, he served as the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and was a staffer for Sen. William Roth, R-DE.