Weekly Opinion Editorial
IT IS STILL GUN CONTROL!
by Steve Fair
On November 22, 1963, President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. I was in Mr. Hawthorne’s fifth grade class at Geronimo elementary school. I remember him weeping openly when he heard the news. It was a dark time in America. Never to allow a crisis to go the waste, liberals immediately seized the opportunity to start their campaign to disarm America.
Up until the Kennedy assassination, ‘gun control’ meant a steady aim at a target, but after Dallas that all changed. Liberals began a systematic propaganda campaign taking aim at guns and gun owners as being a threat to a civilized society. In 1966, Carl Bakal wrote a book entitled, “The Right to Bear Arms.” Bakal, a native New Yorker, free-lance writer, and a glamour photographer made the claim that America’s gun laws and in particular the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution contributed to the increased level of violence in society. Bakal also believed that gun ownership bred criminals and criminal activity. His book was widely quoted by liberals.
The first known ‘gun law’ in America was the Sullivan Law, administered in New York State in 1911 and required New Yorkers to have a permit to have a handgun on their own property. It also prohibited the carrying of bombs, brass knuckles, blackjacks and knives. The renowned Bat Matterson, a friend of the bill author, said the law was ‘obnoxious’ and he questioned Sullivan’s mental state of mind over the law. According to Myles Kelleher, a sociologist, murders by gun increased by eighteen percent in New York after the passage of Sullivan’s Law. NYC Mayor Ed Koch when he was pushing for tougher guns laws in the City said, “Nice guys who own guns aren’t nice guys.” The Koch-Carey law failed to reduce the number of guns on NYC streets and did not reduce gun use in rape, robbery, assault or murder.
In 1934, Congress in response to organized crime, passed the National Firearms Act which banned certain weapons such as machine guns (fully automatic), sawed off shotguns and rifles, grenades, and bombs. They placed a very high tax on transferring weapons and created a federal registry. In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively gutted the National Firearms Act when it ruled that it violated the Fifth Amendment in the case of Haynes vs. United States.
Congress immediately rewrote the Act and in October 1968, President Johnson signed into law the Gun Control Act of 1968. It created a federal law regulating the firearms industry by prohibiting interstate commerce in firearms except among licensed manufacturers and dealers.
In 1986, The Firearm Owners Protection Act was passed by Congress. It prohibited felons from owning guns or ammo. It also prohibited the manufacturing, importing or selling of ammo that would penetrate a bulletproof vest.
In 1993, background checks were added when the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, was signed into law. It requires a federal authorized Federal Firearms License dealer to inspect the criminal history of gun purchasers and run a background check.
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a city ordinance in Washington DC banning residents from owning a handgun was unconstitutional.
In his 1976 Master’s thesis, Gary W. Hanson concluded: “Sentiment favoring gun control comes essentially from urban areas which are most remote from America’s frontier heritage, and the common usage of firearms. Sentiment opposing gun control, on the other hand, comes primarily from the West and the South, which are the areas nearest the frontier heritage. The popularity of firearms in the United States is also due in large measure to the pioneer background of this nation.”
Hanson’s conclusion is consistent with the writing of attorney David Kopel who wrote in The Samurai, The Mountie and The Cowboy: “"Foreign style gun control is doomed to failure in America. Foreign gun control comes along with searches and seizures and with many other restrictions on civil liberties too intrusive for America. Foreign gun control...postulates an authoritarian philosophy of government fundamentally at odds with the individualist and egalitarian American ethos.”
Note that liberals never use the term gun control anymore. They understand that a large majority of Americans do not favor gun control and that term is toxic. They use terms like gun safety and gun violence. They recognize that words mean something and their intention is to sell their concept of disarming the public in a palatable way, but no matter how they say it, it’s still gun control.
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