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Highlights of the History on Gun Laws Since 1791

Way back before 1968, any kind of guns were available for sale to anyone, handguns, shotguns, rifles, and ammo were sold in also most every store anywhere in the country.

Many believe there were no laws applying to guns until 1968. But that is not true it all goes back to 1791.

1791 – the approval of the Second Amendment which says “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

1837 –  Georgia passed a ban on handguns, but the SCOTUS disagreed the law stating it was unconstitutional thus confirming the individual’s right to possess a gun.

1938 – The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 incorporates the first restrictions on selling ordinary firearms, which required the gun stores to have a Federal Firearms License and to keep records as to whom they sell the guns. Also convicted of violent felonies are forbidden from buying a gun.

1968 – People forbidden from purchasing guns is expanded to people convicted of other non-business felonies, people who are mentally ill, and illegal drug users.

1977 – Washington, D.C. requires registration of all shotguns and rifles.

1989 – California banned semi-automatic ‘assault weapons,’ after a shooting at school which took five children’s lives.

1990 – Gun-free school zones are established.

1994 – Brady Act establishes waiting period and background checks by local law enforcement. Also ‘assault weapons’ are banned, but it expires in 2004.

1998 – Permanent Brady provisions go into effect, requiring a criminal background check by National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS).

2008 – In District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court maintained the Second Amendment rights of individuals to own firearms. The ruling also upturned a 32-year old ban on the sale or possession of handguns in the District of Columbia.

And since 2008, regardless of the finding Democrats have tried to re-enact the ‘assault weapons ban.’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein just introduced another effort this last week in which rifles like AR-15 would be banned. It has 22 signatories already.

With the current Congress this isn’t likely to pass, but if the Republicans lose more seats in 2018, it could have more of a chance to pass.

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