- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A conservative political action committee on Wednesday launched an online petition to block the unconditional release of John W. Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.

Citizens for the Republic, a conservative group founded by Reagan in 1977, said Hinckley must remain under some kind of supervision.

Lawyers for Hinckley last week said he plans to ask a federal court to live without restrictions imposed since he was discharged from a Washington psychiatric hospital in 2016.

Hinckley, who has resided in Williamsburg, Virginia, since his release has lived under increasingly fewer restrictions, but his lawyers did not spell out what an unconditional release would mean for him.

Citizens for the Republic say removing any restrictions from Hinckley would be a mistake.

“The least we can do to honor the memory of President Reagan and Jim Brady is to make sure Hinckley remains under some kind of supervision,” the group said in a statement, referring to James Brady, the White House press secretary who was also wounded in the shooting.

“Let’s not forget that Hinckley nearly killed a sitting president and that Jim Brady’s death was eventually ruled a homicide from the injuries Hinckley caused. The Left has already used the attempt on Reagan as a political football when a Clinton-appointed judge released him from his hospital five years ago; it’s imperative people know what’s going on before an even bigger mistake is made,” the statement continued.

Hinckley was 25 when he shot Reagan outside a Washington hotel in March 1981. The shooting paralyzed Brady and injured two others.

At the time of the incident, Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis and was obsessed with the actress Jodie Foster. Jurors found him not guilty by reason of insanity, concluding he needed mental health treatment, not prison.

A new risk assessment conducted last summer found Hinckley to be mentally stable and at low risk for another psychotic episode. It also said there would be a “low likelihood” he would re-offend.

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