Just the Facts

Five Facts on the History of Gun Safety Legislation

By No Labels
May 7, 2019 | Blog

There has been a lot of discussion regarding gun legislation, and it will probably be one of the big issues debated in the 2020 presidential election. Here you will find the facts on the history of gun legislation.

No Labels additionally wrote an article in February regarding gun violence. For that article, click here.

1. The first federal gun-control law came in 1938 by President Roosevelt.

The National Firearms Act of 1934 put a $200 tax on the make or sale of machine guns. The act was approved in 1938 and required the licensing and recording of gun sales. This legislation additionally banned convicted criminals from purchasing a firearm.[1]

2. The Gun Control Act of 1968 began regulating firearms after the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

This act prohibited all convicted felons, drug users and the mentally ill from buying guns. More licensing requirements were put into place and detailed record-keeping became required. After complaints that the government was abusing power to enforce strict gun laws, Congress passed legislation protecting firearm owners in 1986, forbidding the government from keeping a registry of gun owners.[2]

3. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was created and implemented in 1993.

The FBI maintained this system and it was mandated that gun buyers be checked before being sold firearms, but no records could be made of these checks due to the 1968 legislation protecting gun owners. Since then, more than 230 million checks have been conducted.[3]


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4. A 10-year federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons was produced in 1994.

Coming from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 19 weapons that have features of assault rifles were banned for 10 years. In 2004, the ban was not renewed by Congress.[4]

5. No states have laws today that completely prohibit the carrying of firearms for personal protection.

The NRA writes that 28 of the 50 states will grant a law-abiding person a permit to carry a firearm after completing specific requirements, while 15 states allow individuals to carry concealed firearms without a permit. 10 states have many restrictions with a very limited issuance of permits.[5]


[1]https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/history-of-gun-control-legislation/2012/12/22/80c8d624-4ad3-11e2-9a42-d1ce6d0ed278_story.html?utm_term=.05507e4bbad5

[2]Ibid.

[3]https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics

[4]https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/history-of-gun-control-legislation/2012/12/22/80c8d624-4ad3-11e2-9a42-d1ce6d0ed278_story.html?utm_term=.05507e4bbad5

[5]https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/

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