Man who shot Ronald Reagan says America needs gun control

Man who shot Ronald Reagan says America needs gun control
Did You Know? Ronald Reagan

The man who shot former President Ronald Reagan over 40 years ago has emerged as an unlikely figure demanding gun control.

In a video clip uploaded by The Recount on Twitter, John Hinckley Jr, 67, told ABC "Nightline" co-host Juju Chang that the nation needs gun reform.

The interview occurred two weeks after he was released from federal supervision.

"I certainly don't think the mentally ill should have access to guns. I mean, that's kind of obvious," Hinckley Jr told Chang.

Hinckley Jr added: "Background checks are good, and waiting periods are good…I think there [are] too many guns in America. The climate of the country right now is not good. It's not good to have so many guns."

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People online seemed to be baffled by Hinckley's sentiments on gun control because of his past attempting an assassination.

One person wrote: "We've crossed the line where gun-control advocates include would-be assassins."

"A literal Presidential assassin has come out and said that he shouldn't have had access to a gun and that we need tougher gun laws," another added.

A third wrote: "We've reached the point where assassins have become gun control advocates. What a country."

Hinckley also expressed his remorse for shooting Reagan and three others and apologized to the families of his victims.

"I'm truly sorry. I really am," he told "Nightline." "I'm not sure they can forgive me, and I probably wouldn't even blame them," he told "Nightline."

He also said he supports laws that would prohibit others with mental health issues from accessing guns.

In March 1981, Hinckle, who was aged 25 at the time, shot Reagan, police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and press secretary James Brady outside of the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Reagan had just wrapped delivering a speech to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Not too long after, Hinckley was arrested and charged with the attempted assassination.

All of the four men survived. McCarthy was the first victim to be discharged from the hospital. Reagan was hospitalized for 12 days; Brady was shot in the head and was left with brain damage. He also started using a wheelchair after the incident.

Delahanty ended up developing permanent nerve damage to his left arm.

In September 2021, a federal judge greenlit Hinckley's unconditional release. It went into effect on June 15.

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