Brief history of US gun control
POSTED: Monday, December 17, 2012 - 7:11pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 10:07pm
Tyler, Tx — Often after national tragedies like the school shooting in Connecticut, the issue of gun control reenters the national discussion.
And that discussion is almost as old as the Republic. And it is usually tied to social movements or controversial events.
Unlike other nations like those in Europe, America came of age in the time of the gun. Guns were part of our frontier heritage from colonial times, through the Civil War and the westward expansion of the nation, guns were a necessary tool for protection, hunting and ultimately recreation.
The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Since the definition of militia is in the body of the document, immediately the debate began over whether it was a collective or individual right. That was settled by the Supreme Court just a year ago.
In the wake of rampant shootings in the old west, many towns prohibited carrying guns in the city limits.
After the gangster killings during Prohibition, particularly the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the Gun Control Act of 1934 was passed, making the ownership of fully automatic weapons controlled, expensive and difficult.
After the assassination of President Kennedy, and later Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, regulating interstate sales of firearms. The now familiar form stating you are not a prohibited category of buyer became standard, and guns could not be mailed to anyone other than a Federal firearms licensee.
Later after the attempted assassination of President Reagan, came the background check in the Brady Act of 1993.
Then came the so-called Assault Weapons ban of 2004. That restricted, among other things, magazines that held more than 10 rounds. It has since expired. Many want that law reinstated.