John W. Hinckley Jr. may soon leave St. Elizabeth’s Hospital where he spent over 35 years after making an attempt to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan. According to “The Washington Post,” U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman wrote a 103-page opinion concerning Hinckley Jr.’s release on July 27, 2016.
The judge indicated that the release has several stipulations and should Hinckley Jr. follow these he could begin to be phased out of the control of the court. The would-be assassin, who is now 61 years old, has been deemed no longer a threat to himself or others.
He could be freed, as early as Aug. 5, to live full-time with his 90-year old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. Hinckley has been allowed supervised visits with family members since the 1990s. The number of days for these visits grew over time to be as long as 17 days a month. His mother lives in a gated golf course community.
According to courts documents, Hinckley has visited his family over 80 times and they were deemed to be successful. The judge believes this is an indication that full-time release from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. If the would-be assassin relapses or violates the rules of his release, the judge ordered Hinckley could face being returned to the psychiatric facility.
Judge Friedman ordered that Hinckley may only travel within a 50-mile radius of his mother’s home in Virginia. He must provide information about his mobile phone and the information about any vehicles he may drive to his treatment team. Even though he will be allowed to have computer access, hs is barred from making changes to the computer’s browsing history. He may not upload any data from the internet or access social media unless he has the unanimous approval of his supervisory team.
Even with all of these restrictions in place, the judge’s order did not include the requirement of wearing an ankle-monitoring bracelet.
The assassination attempt of Reagan left him wounded. Hinckley also shot James Brady, a U.S. Secret Service agent, and a police officer on March 30, 1981. He used a .22-caliber pistol during the attack. No one died as a result of their gunfire. However, Brady was shot in the head and was paralyzed.
As a result of the assassination attempt, The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, also known as the Brady Bill, was enacted on Nov. 30, 1993. This Act mandated federal background checks for the purchasers of firearms in the United States and entered into force on Feb. 28, 1994.
Written by Cathy Milne
The Washington Post: Would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr. to be freed after 35 years
Authenticated U.S. Government Information Document: One Hundred Third Congress
of the United States of America; TITLE I – BRADY HANDGUN CONTROL
Mental Floss: 11 Notable Patients at the Government Hospital for the Insane
Image Courtesy of benski’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License