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NCJ Number: 64053 Find in a Library
Title: GUNS, POLITICS, AND PUBLIC POLICY (FROM STRUCTURE, LAW, AND POWER - ESSAYS IN THE SOCIOLOGY OF LAW, 1979, BY PAUL T BRANTINGHAM AND JACK M KRESS - SEE NCJ-64050)
Author(s): S T SEITZ
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE VIEWS OF A POLITICAL SCIENTIST REGARDING FEDERAL EFFORTS TO DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION ARE PRESENTED.
Abstract: MOST AMERICANS HAVE SUPPORTED SOME FORM OF HANDGUN REGISTRATION SINCE 1938. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, HOWEVER, HAS ONLY ENACTED TWO MAJOR PIECES OF LEGISLATION IN THIS AREA. BOTH LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS OCCURRED DURING PERIODS OF SOCIAL UNREST; THE FIRST CORRESPONDED TO ORGANIZED CRIME VIOLENCE OF THE 1930'S AND THE SECOND PARALLELED URBAN TERRORISM OF THE 1960'S. VIEWED FROM THE CULTURAL HERITAGE PERSPECTIVE, THE GUN CONTROL CONTROVERSY IMPLIES A POTENTIAL CLEAVAGE BETWEEN COSMOPOLITAN AMERICANS WHO FIND LITTLE UTILITY IN THE GUN AND AN OLDER SECTOR THAT CONTINUES TO HOLD THE GUN IN HIGH ESTEEM. THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT'S BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS (ATF) PROPOSED NEW FIREARMS REGULATIONS IN 1978. LOBBY PRESSURE FROM THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (NRA) WAS SUCCESSFUL IN KILLING THE REGULATIONS, AND THE RELEVANT HOUSE COMMITTEE CUT BACK ON ATF FUNDING. CONGRESSMAN MCCLORY MADE A SUBSEQUENT MOTION IN SUPPORT OF THE REGULATIONS. HIS MOTION ALLOWED PART OF THE GUN CONTROVERSY TO SHIFT FROM THE ELECTORAL ARENA INTO THE BUREAUCRATIC ARENA. MCCLORY'S MOTION IS EVALUATED IN AN EMPIRICAL EXAMINATION OF FIVE STATEMENTS: (1) THERE ARE STRONG REGIONAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONSTITUENCIES OF REPRESENTATIVES TO CONGRESS SUPPORTING THE MCCLORY MOTION AND THOSE WHO OPPOSE; (2) SUPPORTERS OF MCCLORY'S MOTION ARE MORE LIBERAL THAN OPPONENTS; (3) REPRESENTATIVES FROM MARGINAL DISTRICTS ARE LIKELY TO OPPOSE THE MOTION, GIVEN THE NRA'S POTENTIAL THREAT AT ELECTION TIME; (4) GUN CONTROL PROPONENTS FAVOR THE REGULATION OF MASS MAILING SOLICITATIONS MORE THAN OPPONENTS; AND (5) GUN CONTROL CONTROVERSY IS PART OF A LARGER SYNDROME JUXTAPOSING FORCES FAVORING OPEN POLITICS AGAINST FORCES FAVORING BALANCED OR CLOSED POLITICS. THE VOTING OUTCOME REPRESENTED A VICTORY FOR OPEN POLITICS. NRA'S ELECTORAL THREAT APPEARS REAL TO MANY REPRESENTATIVES, ALTHOUGH LOBBYING EFFORTS OF THE ASSOCIATION MORE LIKELY REINFORCE THE WILL OF CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORTERS THAN CONTROL DECISIONS OF REPRESENTATIVES. BUREAUCRATIC FORCES WITH SOME SUPPORTERS IN CONGRESS SEEK TO MOVE THE GUN CONTROL MATTER INTO MORE BALANCED POLITICS, WHERE POTENTIAL PUBLIC HYSTERIA IS COUNTERED BY THE EXPERTISE OF BUREAUCRATIC PROFESSIONALS. PROFESSIONAL CONTROL IS WEAKER THAN OPEN POLITICS IN THE GUN CONTROL CONTROVERY. TABULAR DATA AND NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Firearms; Gun Control; Legislation; Political influences; Social organization
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64053

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