POSTED: Monday, July 23, 2012 - 5:41pm
UPDATED: Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 3:54pm
Here we go again.
Whenever we have a tragic shooting like Aurora, Colorado, you can count on a few things.
One of them is a renewed debate over gun control.
The first US gun ban on record was 1837 when Georgia tried to ban handguns. It was declared unconstitutional.
After the Civil War, former slaves were prohibited from gun ownership.
Now, most of our images of the old west are like this…
But this was more often the case, and in 1884, a Texas cattleman’s journal said this…
“The six-shooter loaded with deadly cartridges is a dangerous companion for any man, especially if he should unfortunately be primed with whiskey. Cattlemen should unite in aiding the enforcement of the law against carrying of deadly weapons.”
The notorious St. Valentine’s Day massacre during the mob wars sparked the Federal Firearms Act of 1934 which imposed heavy regulations on fully automatic firearms.
The assassinations of President Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy sparked the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned the mailing of firearms except to licensed dealers, and expanded the list of people unable to buy guns.
1990 saw the Assault Weapons Ban aimed mainly at civilian versions of military guns like the AK47 and AR15 along with high capacity magazines.
It has since expired.
Then came the Brady Act in 1994, which mandated a background check on any gun purchase from a licensed dealer.
Gun ownership is still very lightly regulated compared to the rest of the world, and t he Supreme Court has ruled that the 2nd Amendment is indeed an individual right, not restricted to an organized militia, but that hasn’t stopped the argument.
And it probably never will.
Whenever any of these laws were passed though, even their staunchest defenders were hard pressed to prove any detectible change in the crime rate.
Culturally, gun control is a hard sell in the US.
And for gun control advocates, it has become an almost impossible one.