Sarah Brady

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Sarah Brady (born February 6, 1942) is the widow of former White House Press Secretary James Brady, and a prominent campaigner for gun control.


She was born to L. Stanley Kemp, a high school teacher and later FBI agent, and Frances Stufflebean Kemp, a former teacher and homemaker. She has one younger brother, Bill.[1]

She was born as Sarah Jane Kemp in Missouri and raised in Alexandria, Virginia.[2]

She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1964. From 1964 to 1968 she was a public school teacher in Virginia.[2] She married James Brady in Alexandria, Virginia on July 21, 1973.[3] On December 29, 1978, their only son, James Scott Brady, Jr., was born.[4]

From 1968 to 1970 she worked as assistant to the campaign director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. She then worked as an administrative aide, first for Mike McKevitt (R-CO) and then for Joseph J. Maraziti (R-NJ). From 1974 to 1978 Sarah Brady worked as director of administration and coordinator of field services for the Republican National Committee.[2]

Her husband sustained a permanently disabling head wound during the Reagan assassination attempt which occurred on March 30, 1981.[5] James Brady remained as Press Secretary for the remainder of Reagan's administration, but this was primarily a titular role.[6]

Alongside her husband, Sarah Brady became "one of the nation's leading crusaders for gun control".[7] They later became active in the lobbying organization (named Handgun Control, Inc.) that would eventually be renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.[8]

Despite her support for gun control, she bought her adult son a hunting rifle as a Christmas present.[9] The New York Daily News suggested she may have "skirted" Delaware's background-check requirements for gun purchases.[10]

In 1994, she and her husband received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[11]


In 2002, Sarah Brady and Merrill McLoughlin wrote A Good Fight, published by Public Affairs. The book is about her entire life, including a recent battle with lung cancer. According to Library Journal, it is more about her personal battles and her determination and courage than about gun control.[12] In April 2002, Court TV announced a planned TV movie adaptation of the book, to be produced in conjunction with Hearst Entertainment.[13] At the book's launch, Bill Clinton praised her for having "given the gift of life to countless thousands and thousands of Americans".[14]

According to Publishers Weekly it gives an "intimate" look at her public and personal life, including a "detailed, suspenseful account" of the efforts to pass the Brady bill.[15]

Kirkus Reviews called it "spirited", "cheerful and even homey", portraying Sarah Brady as a "scrapper" who never gives up, despite her husband's injury, her son's medical problems, and her own battle with lung cancer caused by her heavy smoking.[16]

The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication, found it left unanswered questions, being almost silent on the topic of firearms and making unsupported claims about how many Americans agree with her campaign.[17]


  1. ^ Brady, Sarah; Merrill McLoughlin (2002). A Good Fight. USA: Public Affairs. ISBN 1-58648-105-3. , p. 17.
  2. ^ a b c "Read about Sarah Brady". Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  3. ^ Brady, p. 36
  4. ^ Brady, p. 42
  5. ^ Scott Simon (26 March 2011). "Jim Brady, 30 Years Later (radio interview)". NPR Radio. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Carter, Gregg Lee (2002). Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 78. 
  7. ^ "The Undefeated". People magazine 57 (12). 4/1/2002.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "About the Brady Campaign: A History of Working to Prevent Gun ownership". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  9. ^ "Sarah and Jim Brady's Tests of Love". ABC 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Burger, Timothy J (March 22, 2002). "BRADY SHADY ON GUN RULES Control backer got son rifle". NY Daily News. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "National Winners". Jefferson Awards for Public Service. 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ "A Good Fight (Book)". Library Journal 127 (8). 5/1/2002.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ Archerd, Army (April 10, 2002). "Just for Variety". Variety: 6–6. 
  14. ^ "Clinton praises Brady for her gun-control work". Deseret News. March 28, 2002. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Non-fiction Review: A Good Fight". Publishers Weekly. 03/11/2002. Retrieved 14 February 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ "A Good Fight (Review)". Kirkus Reviews. Feb 1, 2002. 
  17. ^ Lehrer, Eli (July 1–8, 2002). "A Good Fight (Review)". The Weekly Standard 7 (41): 43–43. 

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