Court Rejects James Brady’s Suit Against Maker of Hinckley’s Gun

From a Times Staff Writer

A federal district judge ruled Monday that White House Press Secretary James S. Brady has no grounds to sue the manufacturer of the handgun that John W. Hinckley used to shoot him on March 30, 1981.

Attorneys for Brady had maintained that the manufacturer of the .22-caliber pistol should be held liable for damages because the company knew that its cheap handguns, known as “Saturday Night Specials,” had been used in thousands of criminal assaults.

Brady, 45, was critically wounded when he was struck in the head by one of the bullets Hinckley fired at President Reagan as he left a Washington hotel after addressing a labor convention.

“We’re very disappointed in the decision,” said Frederic W. Schwartz Jr., an attorney for Brady, who said that aides to U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn notified him that the suit had been dismissed. “We don’t have the judge’s opinion, so it is difficult to tell what the basis (of ruling) is.”

Schwartz said he expects attorneys for Brady to file an appeal. “We had anticipated that the case would be resolved in at least the court of appeals,” he said.


The suit, filed in July, 1982, named Hinckley and the firearms manufacturer, Roehm of West Germany, which has a subsidiary in Miami, Schwartz said. Brady had sought $100 million in damages.