Chapter

Guns Don't Kill?

Ted Gest

in Crime and Politics

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195103434
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833887 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195103432.003.0008
Guns Don't Kill?

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Gun control has stirred intense emotions in the war on crime, even though many controls have only a marginal impact on firearms violence. Laws and their enforcement have been influenced most dramatically by assassinations and mass killings rather than by careful study. The first major modern federal gun regulations were approved by Congress in 1968 after the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinations. The National Rifle Association (NRA) worked hard to ease what it considered overly aggressive enforcement, finally succeeding with a 1986 law known as McClure‐Volkmer. The NRA offended many law enforcement leaders in the process. The combination of police support and a federal executive branch and Congress, both controlled by Democrats, helped enact two major gun control measures in 1993 and 1994: the Brady Act, which required a waiting period for handgun purchasers to enable checks of potential buyers’ records, and a ban on assault‐style weapons blamed in the deaths of police officers and others. Yet “copycat” assault weapons were manufactured, blunting the law's impact. Congress failed to enact proposed laws that would require trigger locks on handguns or to regulate gun shows, where firearms were sold with minimal regulation. The NRA argued for more enforcement of existing antigun laws, pointing to a federal program in Richmond, VA, called ‘Project Exile’.

Keywords: assault‐style weapons; Brady Act; Congress; gun control; gun shows; handguns; McClure‐Volkmer Act; National Rifle Association; Project Exile; trigger locks

Chapter.  10175 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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