John Hinckley, the man who is most famous for shooting and almost killing former President Ronald Reagan, is set to become a free man once again.
Hinckley learned this week that he will be granted “full freedom” on June 15th of this year following a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman on Wednesday. Friedman had previously announced his intention to free Hinckley in September of last year on the condition that the gunman continued his good behavior.
Hinckley initially was confined to a mental asylum for over 20 years following the assassination attempt. The jury found him “not guilty” for reasons of insanity.
Hinckley began being allowed to visit his parents in Virginia in 2000. In 2003 Friedman began letting Hinckley live within his community in Virginia for limited stretches under strict conditions. He has lived openly in the community with his mother since 2016 up until her death in 2021, although still with plenty of restrictions.
After June 15, Hinckley will no longer be required to grant officials access to his electronic devices, email and online accounts; be barred from traveling to places where he knows there will be someone protected by the Secret Service, and giving three days’ notice if he wants to travel more than 75 miles from his home.
The man who almost killed a president will also be allowed to legally own a gun and use alcohol and drugs again.
John Hinckley was previously barred from reaching out to the Reagan family or Jodie Foster, who he had claimed to have done the shooting for. Hinckley was 25 at the time and Foster was just a child.
The judge declared that since receiving treatment, Hinckley has shown “no symptoms of active mental illness, no violent behavior and no interest in weapons since 1983.”
The prosecutors for the government also gave up their fight against the unconditional release, noting that Hinckley “has recovered his sanity such that he does not present a danger to himself or others because of mental illness if unconditionally released.” They even agreed that the government found no evidence that Hinckley shouldn’t receive unconditional release.
John Hinckley already has big plans for his release. The musician has discussed his intentions to make a “John Hinckley Redemption Tour”, starting in Brooklyn, New York. He has promoted his music on YouTube for years.
The assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan had plenty of casualties. Reagan ended up with a bullet lodged near his heart. His press secretary James Brady was paralyzed in the shooting. Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahant also both took a bullet for the President.
John Hinckley has been under observation for decades and received world class mental health resources. Do you think it’s fair for him to receive unconditional release because of his previous illness or was his crime too heinous?