The death of Jim Brady brings to mind Ronald Reagan’s support for gun control

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Today’s conservatives generally seem not to remember that Saint Ronaldus Maximus was an advocate of gun control.

The death of former White House Press Secretary Jim Brady is a perfect occasion  to remind Americans of what Reagan actually said about guns.

A good example is a COLUMN Reagan once wrote for The New York Times:

While there has been a Federal law on the books for more than 20 years that prohibits the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, drug addicts and the mentally ill, it has no enforcement mechanism and basically works on the honor system, with the purchaser filling out a statement that the gun dealer sticks in a drawer.

The Brady bill would require the handgun dealer to provide a copy of the prospective purchaser’s sworn statement to local law enforcement authorities so that background checks could be made. Based upon the evidence in states that already have handgun purchase waiting periods, this bill — on a nationwide scale — can’t help but stop thousands of illegal handgun purchases.

And, since many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion (to settle a quarrel, for example) or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide, the Brady bill would provide a cooling-off period that would certainly have the effect of reducing the number of handgun deaths.

Critics claim that “waiting period” legislation in the states that have it doesn’t work, that criminals just go to nearby states that lack such laws to buy their weapons. True enough, and all the more reason to have a Federal law that fills the gaps. While the Brady bill would not apply to states that already have waiting periods of at least seven days or that already require background checks, it would automatically cover the states that don’t. The effect would be a uniform standard across the country.

There were other occasions, as well, dating back even to his days as governor of California. when Reagan spoke out in favor of gun control.

In 1967, Reagan signed a California law known as the Mulford Act, “”prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one’s person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street.”