Timeline of the Major Gun Control Laws in America

The heated debate about gun control continues to rage on in America, and after decades of argument the lines are pretty solidly drawn and there’s little common ground between the opposing sides. When did it all begin? Many will say it started in earnest after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, which served as an opportunity for opponents of gun rights to focus public attention on gun control issues. Certainly before 1968 buying a firearm and ammunition over-the-counter or through mail order wasn’t difficult and wasn’t a subject of concern with the public. The attack on gun rights has been strengthened in recent years by several highly publicized shootings, and legislators on the left, seizing the opportunity, are stepping up their attempts to pass new gun control laws. Here are some of the major milestones in U.S. gun control laws.  

Timeline Of U.S. Gun Control Laws

1934 - The National Firearms Act of 1934 is passed by Congress on the heels of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. It places a steep tax on the manufacture, sale, and transport of several types of weapons, including machine guns. 1938 - The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 requires manufacturers, importers, and dealers to have a Federal Firearms License and to keep records of firearms purchasers. It also prohibits the sale of guns to felons. 1968 - Following the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., at the urging of President Johnson the Gun Control Act of 1968 is passed.  It banned the importation of firearms with ‘no sporting purpose’, raised the age to buy a gun to 21, prohibited sales to illegal drug users and the mentally ill, required that all newly-manufactured and imported firearms have a serial number, and imposed stricter regulations and licensing requirements on the industry. 1972 - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is created. 1990 - The Crime Control Act of 1990 bans the importation and manufacture of assault weapons and establishes gun-free school zones. 1993 - The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 requires a five-day waiting period for handgun purchasers and that background checks be performed on gun buyers. 1994 - The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 prohibits the possession, sale, importation, and manufacture of several types of assault weapons for a period of ten years. It was allowed to expire in 2004. 2015 - U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, introduces the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2015 requiring background checks for purchases at gun shows and online. 2017 - U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, introduces the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act banning sales and possession of bump stocks and other devices intended to convert firearms to fully-automatic fire. 2018 - U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issues a temporary restraining order to block the dissemination of blueprints to produce 3D-printable synthetic guns.   Although there have been occasional minor setbacks for gun control advocates, for the most part, they’re winning. Those interested in protecting their gun rights, especially the right to concealed carry, should be very concerned as the 2nd amendment could be in jeopardy. 


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