And I want to thank a lot of people here, and I'm going to try to do
it as quickly as possible. Everybody here has helped. And each of
you in your own way reflects many others across the country. First
of all, I want to say to have an administration, an Attorney
General, a Vice President, and a President who we knew would sign
this bill is of the utmost importance.
I'd like to draw attention also to another President, who we feel
very close to, President Ronald Reagan, who supported it and came
out for the Brady Bill, and who made it a badge of honor for
Republicans and brought this bill into the arena
where it was not a partisan issue.
I would like to thank the men and women in blue who have by the
hundreds of thousands come to Washington to fight for this over the
years, marched for us, been in press conferences, and more than
anything else who day in and day out give their lives for all of us.
To our bill sponsors, Senator Metzenbaum, Congressman Schumer,
Congressman Sensenbrenner, and our very first Ed Feighan, and all
the rest of the members of Congress who had the guts to speak out
early and support us all along the way when sometimes it wasn't
easy. And I know one of the earliest ones was a Senator from Texas -
- and in Texas that wasn't so easy in those days; and he now, of
course, sits on the President's Cabinet. So for all the Congress who
have supported us, my thanks.
Our friends, Handgun Control, board and staff, are phenomenal. Over
the years, they've worked their heart out. And I want to talk a
little bit about the victims around the country who have suffered
and suffered terribly, and who've gotten involved in this movement.
And I know today for them is a very special day, and we thank them
for what they've done.
For everyone who's gotten involved, I can't -- I don't know how to
say that this is all part of everything a team, a large team, did
There's one man in particular now I want to talk about, and that is
a gentleman by the name of Pete Shields, who was my predecessor. And
it was Pete Shields who made this movement what it is. Before anyone
else got involved or thought, he, after losing his son to gunfire,
quit his job, came to Washington and decided to work for this noble
cause. Pete Shields was Chairman of Handgun Control when I joined;
and he was until the year before his death, until he passed away
last winter. And we owe a great debt of -- a great debt of gratitude
to Pete and to Pete's family -- (applause).
And I only have one or two other words I want to say. Our critics
have said that the Brady Bill was only symbolic. Well, I think there
is some symbolism in the Brady Bill -- it's symbolic of teamwork, of
people from all over this nation working together to pass something
that the people wanted. I think it's symbolic that members of
Congress could stand up to a large lobby. I think it's symbolic of a
lot of things. But I don't want anyone to feel that that's all it
is. The Brady Bill is not just symbolism. It will begin to make a
difference. It will begin to save lives. We read in The Post this
morning that in four states alone, over 50,000 people were stopped
in the last four years from getting weapons illegally -- or over the
counter. It will help.
And to tell you a little bit on a personal level of how it would
have helped her, I want to introduce a very special young woman. Her
name is Melanie Musick. I met her several years ago when she came,
like so many of the victims have come to Washington to help us, she
came to tell her story and to plead. And her story is one of many in
the past, and one of many in the future who we hope will be saved by
the Brady Bill.
Sarah Brady Speech
Signing of the Brady Gun Control Bill