The 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan is throwing a spotlight back on gun control laws as Tim McCarthy, a former Secret Service agent who took a bullet for Reagan, heads to Springfield, Ill., to oppose legislation that would repeal the state ban on concealed carrying of firearms.
An Illinois House committee voted to lift the ban this week and the full House is expected to vote soon.
A number of law enforcement agencies are starting to support the legislation and if it's passed the law would allow county sheriffs to issue permits to applicants who would have to be over 21, pass an FBI background check and receive some firearms training.
Illinois is only one of two states that bans the carrying of concealed weapons. Wisconsin also bans it along with the District of Columbia.
McCarthy, who fully recovered from the chest wound he received protecting the president from gunman John Hinckley Jr., is now the police chief of suburban Orland Park, Ill.
He was joining other local chiefs of police in Springfield Wednesday to meet with leaders of the Illinois chapter of the National Rifle Association, which supports the ban repeal, MyFoxChicago reported.
Proponents of the legislation say concealed carry arms responsible, trained citizens and make people safer. But McCarthy says it would only put more guns in the street.
"It's my personal feeling that the proliferation of handguns is not the way to go," he told MyFox Chicago. "And I know the gang members will still get their guns and criminals will still get their guns. But remember in Illinois you can own a gun in your home, you just can't carry it in your purse and in person."
Support for McCarthy also comes from Jim Brady, Reagan's press secretary who was partially paralyzed in the shooting. Since the shooting, Brady and his wife Sarah have lobbied for what they call "reasonable gun control laws."
In 1981, Hinckley fired six rounds from a .22 –caliber revolver, striking Reagan, McCarthy, Brady and a D.C. police officer. All four men survived but Brady suffered the most devastating wound, leaving him confined to a wheelchair and paralyzed on one side.
"No bitterness I don't think. I really think we have worked hard to never let ourselves feel bitter," Sarah Brady told MyFox DC. "It's sort of amazing that it's been 30 years. It just seems like yesterday. It still replays in my head, just like a movie, frame by frame."
The Bradys attended meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the shooting. Asking what time it was during a Hill event, Fox News told her 1: 46 p.m. ET.
"Good grief. That was right about the time I found out (about the shooting)," she said. "It's uplifting to see all of the support."