America has never been a preventative country. Sweeping change (for the better) has never come before a tragedy. However, America IS a reactionary nation (kind of – conservatives in Congress are c*ck blocks when it comes to that, though).
However, President Obama took matters into his own presidential hands. Tuesday, President Obama issued executive actions to help fight what’s becoming an epidemic that’s proven itself to be more dangerous than any disease out there.
So, how did we get to the current state of gun control if we’re a nation of reactions? Here’s how.
1. Roosevelt Cracked Down on Capone
In 1934, in an attempt to curtail gangsters, legislation was passed that imposed new criminal penalties. It also placed regulations and taxes on gangster favorites – the machine gun and sawed-off shotgun.
In 1938 further steps were taken with the addition of more laws. The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 restricted interstate guns and ammunition trade. It also required dealers to register themselves and keep records of purchases.
2. Three Tragic Assassinations
In 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, who used a rifle he ordered through the mail. Afterwards, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, and Robert F. Kennedy was killed two months later.
In response, Johnson signed reform laws that imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements, banned felons and those considered mentally incompetent from purchasing firearms, and regulations on interstate sales (how Oswald obtained his gun).
The law took further steps and placed controls on deadly gases, bombs, grenades, rockets, and missiles, and led to the creation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
3. Yes, Reagan Introduced Gun Control Laws
After lengthy negotiations between lawmakers and gun lobbyists (the money men), President Reagan signed the “Firearm Owner’s Protection Act” which banned fully automatic weapons (machine guns) to the private citizen.
However, the NRA got their way too. The “Firearm Owner’s Protection Act” blocked the creation of the national firearm database we so sorely need and other measures.
4. It Took Until 1993 for Background Checks to Become a Thing
I’m almost 30. The early 90s are a fuzzy time for me as I was a child. So, the notion of background checks for purchasing firearms has always been something that existed. It is shocking to find that it took until the early 90s for licensed firearm dealers to be required to perform background checks on handguns. It called for a five-day waiting period, but with the creation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in 1998, that’s no longer the case.
The bill was named after James Brady, who was injured during the assassination attempt on President Reagan.
Reagan himself commented on the bill:
Four lives were changed forever, and all by a Saturday-night special — a cheaply made .22 caliber pistol — purchased in a Dallas pawnshop by a young man with a history of mental disturbance. This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now — the Brady bill — had been law back in 1981.”
5. Clinton Signed MORE Gun Control Laws Into Place
In 1994, President Clinton signed the “Assault Weapons Ban” law that banned the manufacture, possession, and sale of certain combat-style weapons and limited the size of the magazines of those firearms.
Not surprisingly, the law expired in 2004 when good ‘ole George W. Bush was in office. And no, it has not been renewed. Good job Bush. Good job. There have been attempts to bring it back from the grave; however, you can guess who has c*ck blocked those efforts in Congress.
Screenshot from Youtube video.