Vice President Joe Biden is praising the late James Brady, a onetime White House press secretary, as a rare example of turning tragedy into action.

Biden is paying tribute at a memorial service for Brady. After being partially paralyzed during a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Brady became a prominent advocate for gun control.

Biden says in three decades after being shot, Brady never compromised and was never defeated. He says Brady didn't just persevere, he triumphed.

Biden says the assassin's bullet robbed Brady of many of his faculties, but not his voice.

Former press secretaries and White House reporters are honoring Brady during the service at the Newseum in Washington. A federal law requiring background checks for handgun buyers bears Brady's name, as does the White House briefing room.