It's not every day that you can get your hands on a rare piece of American history.
James "The Bear" Brady was born in Centralia, Illinois on August 29, 1940. He lived an ambitious life, graduating from the University of Illinois in his early twenties and beginning a successful career in politics. In 1981, Brady's lifelong dream was achieved when President Ronald Reagan appointed him Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary.
That same year on March 30th, a man by the name of John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Reagan as the President left a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel. Hinckley shot President Reagan, James Brady, and two law enforcement officers. Reagan was shot in the chest underneath his left arm, with the bullet stopping near his heart. He suffered from heavy internal bleeding and went into cardiac arrest at the hospital, but was quickly resuscitated, and recovered in weeks.
James Brady was the most seriously injured victim of the shooting. He was shot in the head, which left him partially paralyzed and caused his speech to be slurred for the rest of his life.
While we don't know how the 1849 Colt Baby Dragoon came into the Brady family's possession, we do know how it left the family. Right after the shooting, James Brady's wife, Sarah, was so revolted by firearms that she gathered all of the guns in the Brady household and turned to the first trusted person who would take them from her -- her gardener. One of them was this exact 1849 Colt Baby Dragoon (Rammerless) that is currently in our possession.
After the shooting, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was born. James Brady and his wife Sarah went on to become a powerful political symbol of the gun control movement we know today. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a notorious law among gun owners, also known as the "Brady Bill," was written and named in his honor.
This rare piece of history has been carefully passed down through a small number of collectors, of which we have official documentation. "The Brady Gun" is the last gun manufactured of its type, rare in its own right, and is also fully documented. (The gun is a Rammerless 1849 Colt Baby Dragoon, serial number 14152, as documented in the picture below.)
Today, the names of James and Sarah Brady inspire a good deal of anger and disgust among gun owners. Their advocacy of laws to restrict firearms freedoms, and the use of James Brady's injuries to further that end, negated much of the sympathy they might have otherwise enjoyed.
"The Brady Gun's" sale, and even its existence, are important symbols. While we can't completely undo what was done, we can fight to reclaim our constitutional rights by supporting those organizations that actively engage those who would disarm us.
A portion of The Brady Gun's final auctioned price will be donated by its current owner Jim Copley and GunAuction.com to the Second Amendment Foundation, which constantly strives to undo that which this gun's previous owner has done to limit our freedoms.
The condition of this gun is poor. All parts are present, but there is virtually no finish left. Additionally, the walnut grips are loose. The brass trigger also appears to have been badly dented on the right side.
This auction will end on the 4th of July, 2015.
View the "Brady Gun" and the auction at:http://www.gunauction.com/buy/13442944
The Second Amendment Foundation(www.saf.org
) is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.