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NCJ Number: 47860 Find in a Library
Title: CONTROVERSY OVER PROPOSED FEDERAL HANDGUN CONTROLS
Journal: CONGRESSIONAL DIGEST  Volume:54,  Dated:(DECEMBER 1975)  Pages:289-314
Author(s): ANON
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 26
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ISSUE OF GUN CONTROL IS EXAMINED FROM BOTH SIDES, FOR AND AGAINST THE RESTRICTION OF HANDGUNS, AND MAJOR PROVISIONS OF EXISTING AND PROPOSED GUN CONTROL LAWS ARE OUTLINED.
Abstract: IN 1968, CONGRESS ENACTED THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE GUN CONTROL MEASURE TO BECOME LAW SINCE 1938. A RENEWED DRIVE HAS BEEN MOUNTED IN THE 94TH CONGRESS FOR ENACTMENT OF FURTHER GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION. THIS DIRVE HAS BEEN ACCOMPANIED BY HEATED DEBATE OVER WHETHER GUN LAWS CAN ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING A DETERRENT EFFECT OF THE NATION'S CRIME RATE. A NUMBER OF PROPOSALS ARE PRESENTLY BEFORE THE APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF THE 94TH CONGRESS. THESE GENERALLY FALL INTO ONE OF THREE APPROACHES: NATIONWIDE REGISTRATION OF FIREARMS AND LICENSING OF OWNERS; PROHIBITION OF SPECIFIED TYPES OF NONRECREATIONAL HANDGUNS COMMONLY USED IN THE COMMISSION OF CRIME; AND OUTRIGHT PROHIBITION OF POSSESSION OF HANDGUNS EXCEPT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS, ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL, AND OTHER SPECIFIED INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS. THE THIRD PROPOSAL IS REGARDED AS THE MOST EXTREME AND IS ACCORDED LITTLE OR NO CHANCE OF ADOPTION BY CONGRESS. ONE PROPOSAL WHICH IS GIVEN SOME CHANCE OF FAVORABLE ACTION IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WOULD REQUIRE SYSTEMATIC NATIONAL REGISTRATION OF CERTAIN PRIVATE FIREARMS AND LICENSING OF THEIR OWNERS. THIS AND OTHER SPECIFIC PROPOSALS PENDING IN CONGRESS ARE SUMMARIZED. THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE PRESENT LAW, THE FEDERAL GUN CONTROL ACT OF 1968, ARE OUTLINED, INCLUDING ITS REQUIREMENTS FOR ISSUANCE OF A LICENSE, RESTRICTIONS ON INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION AND ON IMPORTATION OF HANDGUNS, AND RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SALE OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION. A CHRONOLOGY OF FEDERAL FIREARMS CONTROL ENACTMENTS FROM 1927 TO 1975 IS ALSO PRESENTED. THESE LAWS DEAL WITH SUCH AREAS AS FIREARMS ABOARD AIRCRAFT, THE REGULATION OF EXPLOSIVES, AND THE USE OF FIREARMS IN CIVIL DISORDERS. EXTENSIVE DISCUSSIONS OF THE PROS AND CONS OF GUN CONTROL BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, AS WELL AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION AND THE DIRECTOR OF A MAJOR POLICE DEPARTMENT, ARE PRESENTED. SOME OF THE MAJOR ARGUMENTS COMMONLY PUT FORTH ON EACH SIDE OF THE DEBATE ARE INCLUDED. GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES ARGUE THAT: OUR GUN HOMICIDE RATE IS EXTREMELY HIGH AND EXCEEDS THAT OF MANY OTHER COUNTRIES; MOST AMERICANS FAVOR STRICT FEDERAL GUN CONTROLS; ACCIDENTAL DEATHS FROM HANDGUNS ARE HIGH; SINCE MOST HANDGUN DEATHS ARE CRIMES OF PASSION, LONG PRISON SENTENCES FOR HANDGUN OFFENDERS WOULD HAVE NO SIGNIFICANT DETERRENT EFFECT; THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS APPLIES TO STATES, NOT INDIVIDUALS; AND THE PRESENT LAW IS INEFFECTIVE. OPPONENTS ARGUE THAT: GUN CONTROLS WILL NOT END CRIME; GUN LAWS WILL DESTROY AMERICANS' RIGHTS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES AND THEIR HOMES; THE SECOND AMENDMENT WAS INTENDED TO ENABLE INDIVIDUALS TO ARM THEMSELVES; THE EXISTING LAW SERVES AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE FACT THAT GUN CONTROL LAWS DO NOT WORK; CRIMINALS WILL OBTAIN GUNS REGARDLESS ON ANY LAW PASSED; THE EXISTENCE OF FIREARMS LAWS IS NOT AFFECTING CRIME RATES IN THE AREAS WHERE THOSE LAWS EXIST; AND GUNS DO NOT CAUSE CRIME -- PEOPLE DO. (VDA)
Index Term(s): Firearms; Firearms acts; Gun Control; Handguns; Legislation
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