Gun control is something that did not start recently although it has become stricter. When did gun control even start in the United States? Aside from when America started as a country and the British trying to disarm us, we go back to when we passed laws in our own states to control certain weapons distribution. We are going back to the 1920s.
The Federal government started its gun control policies in response to the waging wars of the gangs in 1934 with the National Firearms Act of 1934. This enacted a long series of measures trying to stop the spread of increasingly destructive firearms in gang violence. Weapons involved were the sawed off shotgun, machine guns, and suppressors. The NFA was signed into law on June 26th, and Bonnie and Clyde died July 22.
The states had started even earlier than the federal government with about a ten year head start. Some 27 states in total passed restrictive laws for Tommy guns. The very first state to act was West Virginia in 1925. Remember in those days the federal government had little power over the regulation of crime, so the states did what they were supposed to.
The story takes a twist though. Not only did many states go after the fully automatic Tommy gun, they also went after semi-automatic weaponry as well since they fired rounds at an increased rate. Between 7-10 states tried to find ways to ban such weapons that could hold a certain number of rounds and fire each time the trigger was pulled.
For example, Rhode Island defined prohibited “machine guns” to include “any weapon which shoots automatically and any weapon which shoots more than twelve shots semi-automatically without reloading.” A 1927 Massachusetts laws defined prohibited weapons as, “Any gun or small arm caliber designed for rapid fire and operated by a mechanism, or any gun which operates automatically after the first shot has been fire. . . shall be deemed a machine gun.” Michigan’s 1927 law prohibited machine guns or any other firearm if they fired more than sixteen times without reloading. Minnesota’s 1933 law outlawed “Any firearm capable of automatically reloading after each shot is fired, whether firing singly by separate trigger pressure or firing continuously by continuous trigger pressure.” It went on to penalize the modification of weapons that were altered to accommodate such extra firing capacity.
Ohio barred both fully automatic and semi-automatic weapons in a 1933 law, incorporating under the banned category any gun that “shoots automatically, or any firearm which shoots more than eighteen shots semi-automatically without reloading.” The law specifically defined semi-automatic weapons as those which fired one shot with each pull of the trigger. South Dakota’s 1933 law barred machine guns by defining them as weapons “from which more than five shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically, or semi-automatically discharged from a magazine.” In 1933 Virginia outlawed weapons “of any description . . . from which more than seven shots or bullets may be rapidly, or automatically, or semi-automatically discharged from a magazine, by a single function of the firing device, and also applies to and includes weapons, loaded or unloaded, from which more than sixteen shots or bullets may be rapidly, automatically, semi-automatically, or otherwise discharged without reloading.”
Granted that with the changing of technology certain laws come about because a change in patterns of behavior. Take the car for example, no laws were needed for driving at fast rates before the 1900s, but accidents and hospitalizations changed that to govern the people in safety.
However, with firearm laws, these were passed at a time when organized crime had many in fear over life and lifestyles being threatened by thugs. These reasons have long gone away, and I think the rights should be restored, not so that we can threaten the innocent, but to defend the weak, poor, and elderly against more brazen thugs that we report on a nearly daily basis.
Bring back the second amendment, and leave us with our guns ‘n’ freedom.
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