Sarah Brady

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Sarah Brady
Born Sarah Jane Kemp
February 6, 1942 (1942-02-06)
Died April 3, 2015 (2015-04-04) (aged 73)
Alexandria, Virginia
Cause of death Pneumonia
Nationality American
Occupation Gun control advocate
Years active 29

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.


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]


Sarah Brady died at the age of 73 on April 3, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia, from pneumonia.[12] Her husband James had died at the same age in the previous year, on August 4, 2014.[13]


In 2002, Sarah Brady published her autobiography, A Good Fight.[14] According to Library Journal, it is more about her personal battles and her determination and courage than about gun control.[15]

In April 2002, Court TV announced a planned television movie adaptation of the book, to be produced in conjunction with Hearst Entertainment.[16] At the book's launch, Bill Clinton praised her for having "given the gift of life to countless thousands and thousands of Americans".[17]

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."[18]

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.[19]

Libertarian conservative Eli Lehrer said Brady's memoir left unanswered questions, being almost silent on the topic of firearms, and said that it made unsupported claims about how many Americans agree with her campaign.[20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Thurber, Jon (April 3, 2015). "Sarah Brady, longtime advocate for gun control, dies at 73". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Brady, Sarah (2002). A Good Fight. With Merrill McLoughlin. New York: PublicAffairs. p. 17. ISBN 9781586481056.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Jim and Sarah Brady". Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. April 2015. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Brady, p. 36
  5. Brady, p. 42
  6. Brady, Jim; Brady, Sarah (March 26, 2011). "Jim Brady, 30 Years Later" (Transcript). Interviewed by Scott Simon. Retrieved June 21, 2012. Unknown parameter |call-sign= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |program= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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. Retrieved April 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The Undefeated". People Magazine. 57 (12). April 1, 2002. Retrieved April 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Hwa, Nancy M.; Knox, Rebecca (2012). "Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence". In Carter, Gregg Lee (ed.). Guns in American Society. 1 (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 103–105. ISBN 9780313386718. Retrieved June 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Almasy, Steve (April 4, 2015). "Sarah Brady, widow of James Brady, dies at 73". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "National Winners". Jefferson Awards for Public Service. 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Stack, Liam (April 4, 2015). "Sarah Brady, Gun Control Activist, Is Dead at 73". The New York Times. p. D8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Merica, Dan (August 5, 2014). "James Brady, former Reagan press secretary and gun-control advocate, dies". CNN. Retrieved April 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Brady, Sarah (2002). A Good Fight. With Merrill McLoughlin. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781586481056. OCLC 49002031.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "A Good Fight (Book)". Library Journal. 127 (8). May 1, 2002.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Archerd, Army (April 10, 2002). "Just for Variety". Variety: 6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Clinton praises Brady for her gun-control work". Deseret News. March 28, 2002. Retrieved February 14, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Non-fiction Review: A Good Fight". Publishers Weekly. May 2002. Retrieved April 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "A Good Fight (Review)". Kirkus Reviews. February 1, 2002.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Lehrer, Eli (July 1, 2002). "The Standard Reader Briefly: a book about John-John; Sarah Brady's unrevealing memoir". The Weekly Standard. 7 (41): 43. Retrieved June 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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