Sarah Brady

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Sarah Brady
Brady in 1984
Sarah Jane Kemp

(1942-02-06)February 6, 1942
DiedApril 3, 2015(2015-04-03) (aged 73)
OccupationGun control advocate
Years active1986–2015
(m. 1972; died 2014)

Sarah Jane Brady (née Kemp; February 6, 1942 – April 3, 2015) was a prominent advocate for gun control in the United States. Her husband, James Brady, was press secretary to U.S. president Ronald Reagan and was left permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on Reagan.


She was born Sarah Jane Kemp in Kirksville, Missouri[1] to L. Stanley Kemp, a high school teacher and later FBI agent, and Frances (née Stufflebean) Kemp, a former teacher and homemaker. She had a younger brother, Bill.[2] She was raised in Alexandria, Virginia,[3] where she graduated from Francis C. Hammond High School in 1959.[1]

She graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1964. From 1964 to 1968 she was a public school teacher in Virginia.[3] She married James Brady in Alexandria on July 21, 1973.[4] On December 29, 1978, their only child, James "Scott" Brady Jr., was born.[5]

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, she worked as director of administration and coordinator of field services for the Republican National Committee.[3]

Her husband sustained a permanently disabling head wound during the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981.[6] James Brady remained as Press Secretary for the remainder of Reagan's administration, primarily in a titular role.[7]

Alongside her husband, Sarah Brady became "one of the nation's leading crusaders for gun control".[8] They later became active in the lobbying organization Handgun Control, Inc. that would eventually be renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.[9] She was chairwoman of the Brady Campaign from 2000 until her death in 2015.[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 1994, she and her husband received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[12]


Sarah Brady died at the age of 73 on April 3, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia, from pneumonia.[13] Her husband James had died at the same age in the previous year, on August 4, 2014.[14]


External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with Brady on A Good Fight, May 5, 2002., C-SPAN

In 2002, Sarah Brady published her autobiography, A Good Fight.[15] According to Library Journal, it is more about her personal battles and her determination and courage than about gun control.[16]

In April 2002, Court TV announced a planned television movie adaptation of the book, to be produced in conjunction with Hearst Entertainment.[17] At the book's launch, Bill Clinton praised her for having "given the gift of life to countless thousands and thousands of Americans".[18]

The book gives an "intimate" look at her public and personal life, including a "detailed, suspenseful account" of the efforts to pass the Brady Bill, according to Publishers Weekly, which suggested that "fans of [Katharine] Graham's Personal History may enjoy this story of a determined woman in a male-dominated Washington."[19]

Kirkus Reviews called it "spirited," portraying Brady as a "scrapper" who never gives up, despite her husband's injury, her son's medical problems, and her own battle with smoking and lung cancer.[20]


  1. ^ a b Thurber, Jon (April 3, 2015). "Sarah Brady, longtime advocate for gun control, dies at 73". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  2. ^ Brady, Sarah (2002). A Good Fight. With Merrill McLoughlin. New York: PublicAffairs. p. 17. ISBN 9781586481056.
  3. ^ a b c "Jim and Sarah Brady". Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. April 2015. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Brady, p. 36
  5. ^ Brady, p. 42
  6. ^ Brady, Jim; Brady, Sarah (March 26, 2011). "Jim Brady, 30 Years Later". Weekend Edition (Transcript). Interviewed by Scott Simon. NPR. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  7. ^ 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. ISBN 9781576072684. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Undefeated". People Magazine. 57 (12). April 1, 2002. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  9. ^ Hwa, Nancy M.; Knox, Rebecca (2012). "Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence". In Carter, Gregg Lee (ed.). Guns in American Society. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 103–105. ISBN 9780313386718. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Almasy, Steve (April 4, 2015). "Sarah Brady, widow of James Brady, dies at 73". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  11. ^ "National Winners". Jefferson Awards for Public Service. 2011. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  13. ^ Stack, Liam (April 4, 2015). "Sarah Brady, Gun Control Activist, Is Dead at 73". The New York Times. p. D8.
  14. ^ Merica, Dan (August 5, 2014). "James Brady, former Reagan press secretary and gun-control advocate, dies". CNN. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  15. ^ Brady, Sarah (2002). A Good Fight. With Merrill McLoughlin. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781586481056. OCLC 49002031.
  16. ^ "A Good Fight (Book)". Library Journal. 127 (8). May 1, 2002.
  17. ^ Archerd, Army (April 10, 2002). "Just for Variety". Variety: 6.
  18. ^ "Clinton praises Brady for her gun-control work". Deseret News. March 28, 2002. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  19. ^ "Non-fiction Review: A Good Fight". Publishers Weekly. May 2002. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  20. ^ "A Good Fight (Review)". Kirkus Reviews. February 1, 2002.

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