US History on Gun Control
March 19, 2014 at 11:58 am #63522JohnyMacParticipant
I wrote this article for another forum because there seemed to be a lot of bad information going around about the birth of gun control in the USofA. Specifically the recent 9th Court on San Diego’s CCW law.
To speak with confidence I encourage people to arm themselves with the facts. You can’t argue with facts – Well you can but you look foolish when you do.
This article is a copy & paste as mentioned above. The hyperlinks came across (blue letters) but the finding of the US Supreme Court ruling in 1938 came through highlighted too. Once I figure out how to fix the color on that section I will go back and fix the boo boo’s.
In closing, if I have missed something or misrepresented some fact please post on here or send me a PM.
Gun Control in the United States
History of the National Firearm Act of 1934:
The years of 1920 to 1933 in the United States were turbulent times. World War I had just ended and what met the troops coming home was a depression. President Coolidge worked to reduce the size of government which had been expanded greatly under President Teddy Roosevelt* and President Woodrow Wilson* both Progressives. President Coolidge tackled the 1920 depression by reducing the size of the Federal government. Some may debate as to whether the recovery under the Coolidge administration laid the foundation for the Great Depression to follow ten years later or not. I will save that debate for a later day.
With the Eighteenth Amendment* of the BOR’s (Bill of Rights) in full swing a group of entrepreneurs sprung up to fill the void of a “dry country” called “gangsters.” These gangsters had the support of many local, state and federal officials. A group of ~ 500 LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) who worked for the US Treasury called ATU (Alcohol Tax Unit) were responsible for enforcing the Prohibition on alcohol across the United States of America.
Until the implementation of the NFA 1934 (National Firearms Act of 1934) an American citizen had no restrictions to owning any weapon that was used by the US Army or State Militia (State National Guard). As a matter of fact, as WW I troops were being discharged from service many were allowed to keep their military issue weapons. That included sub-machine guns (Thompson sub-machine gun -Tommy Gun’s), machine guns (BAR- Browning Automatic Rifle, BMG – Browning Machine Gun), sawed off shotguns (Winchester 12 ga. Trench sweepers), Springfield rifles, 1911 pistols, etcetera.
Nobody thought anything about American citizens owning the afore mentioned arms as it was believed that the citizenry should be allowed to have the same arms that the military used. This in part, not unlike the checks and balanced within our government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial) was thought to have prevented military coups in the USofA for over 140 years. During those 140 years, the American citizenry more often than not, had more advanced weaponry available to them than the US Military had.
Many of these automatic weapons returning with discharged American soldiers, found their way into the gangster ranks during our countries experiment with Prohibition. As the gangsters became wealthier, they also purchased these firearms directly from the manufactures who were more than happy to sell to a new market base, as the US Army was being “down sized.”
In comes the collapse of the stock market and then bank failures of 1929 which lead to the Great Depression. To add to the countries financial challenges the “dust bowl” (AKA, The Dirty Times) began. Many believed that this was caused by drought and years of “dry-land farming.”
With Prohibition, the Great Depression in full swing, and the dust bowl starving farmers out, a new gangster was born. The likes of Bonnie & Clyde, Baby Face Nelson and who can forget Machine Gun Kelly, to name a few.
Then started the riots and protests that made the governments; local, state and federal take notice. The biggest of the time was the Bonus Army march, when 40,000 plus WW I veterans and their family’s marched on Washington D.C. demanding their war time bonus be paid early. As we have all read this protest was put down violently by Patton and Eisenhower under MacArthur’s command. Bottom-line, our local, state and federal governments were running scared.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt* took office January 1933 with a partial platform of repealing Prohibition and returning the United States to a more Progressive form of government (AKA, A Square deal, a chicken and every pot, etc). In December of the same year the Twenty-first Amendment to the BOR was passed.
With the passing of the Twenty-first Amendment of the BOR, not unlike a double edged sword, a host of problems came with the new amendment. More revenue for the government but Prohibition gangsters were put out of business along with ~500 ATU agents not being needed. Couple this with the ramped bank robberies in the mid-west and an increase in large protests across the nation. President Roosevelt shared his concerns behind the scenes with the leaders of the US Legislature and the US Treasure William Julian*.
Do in part to President Roosevelt’s concerns, House Speaker Henry Rainey* (Dem) requested that The Committee on Ways & Means, of the US House of Representatives, hold meetings to discuss the issues at hand and then offer a recommendation in the form of a bill. The meetings were held on April 16-17 and again May 14-16, 1934. The meetings resulted in H.R. 9066, 72nd Congress second session.
As a side note, the NRA (National Rifle Association) testified at these meeting’s in full support of a bill to limit arms available to the general public.
Senate leaders Joseph Robinson* (DEM) & Charles McNary* (REP,) worked on a companion bill in the Senate which was passed around the same time.
The National Firearm Act – 1934 (NFA 1934) was sent to President Roosevelt for signature which happened on June 6, 1934. The law did not restrict the sale of specific weapons and devises that included in part: Automatic weapons, long weapons with barrels that are shorter than 18 inches, silencers but impose a tax on each weapon or devise of $200-. This is still the law of the land today, with the exception of automatic weapons manufactured post 1986.
In 1938 the constitutionality of the now NFA 1934 law was challenged in a Federal District Court by defendants Miller & Layton, who were earlier arrested for being in the possession of a shotgun with barrel less than 18 inches. The lower court found that the NFA 1934 was in fact unconstitutional in this case. There was no reason given by the judge but it is widely believed because shot guns of less than 18 inches were used by the US Army in World War I. The US Attorney General appealed the decision of the District Court to the USSC (United States Supreme Court) in March 1939 – United States vs. Miller[/url was born.
Neither Miller nor Layton appeared with their attorney’s the day the case was to be debated before the USSC. In fact Miller was found dead in April just a month before the debate and Layton was never found even though a search was conducted.
On May 15, 1939 the USSC rendered their position with Justice McReynolds writing the following ruling:
“The National Firearms Act, as applied to one indicted for transporting in interstate commerce a 12-gauge shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches long without having registered it and without having in his possession a stamp-affixed written order for it, as required by the Act, held:
• 1. Not unconstitutional as an invasion of the reserved powers of the States. Citing Sonzinsky v. United States, 300 U. S. 506, and Narcotic Act cases. P. 307 U. S. 177.
• 2. Not violative of the Second Amendment of the Federal Constitution. P. 307 U. S. 178.
The Court cannot take judicial notice that a shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches long has today any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, and therefore cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizen the right to keep and bear such a weapon.”
If you take the time to actually read the transcripts from the debate you will find that the central point the Justices kept asking was: “Can anybody prove that shot guns with a barrel length of less than 18 inches were used by the US Army in WW I or currently by the US Army or any branch of Federal or State law enforcement?” No significant proof was provided to this question; However it was widely known at the time that in fact the US Army did use “trench sweepers” (AKA sawed off shot guns) during WW I. This along with the absence of Miller & Layton the USSC upheld the NFA 1934 law.
The NFA 1934 provides the foundation for future gun control laws to follow such as: The Gun Control Act 1968, The Firearm Owners Protection Act 1986, Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act 1993, and Federal Assult Weapons Ban 1994, which expired in 2004.
Comments, Observations & Opinions:
Looking at gun control over the past 80 years it seems to me that a desire for additional gun control laws happen post a tragic event (s). 1934 has been discussed ad nauseam above so let’s look at some other events.
> 1968 post the assassinations of President John Kennedy, Presidential
candidate Robert Kennedy and Pastor Martin Luther King Jr.
> 1986 post President Ronald Reagan’s attempted assassination.
> 1993 again in relation to President Reagan’s attempted assassination
where Presidential Aide Brady was also injured during this
> 1994, post the 1989 Assault weapons ban in California; A Federal
Assault Weapons ban was passed until the ban expired and was not
renewed in 2004.
The Second Amendment of the BOR’s reads:
“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.”
Let’s look at the definition of the key word infringed:
: to do something that does not obey or follow (a rule, law, etc.) ( chiefly US )
: to wrongly limit or restrict (something, such as another person’s rights)
Each time there is a new furor over more/less gun control it typically follows a tragic event that emotionally affects the whole country. Some recent examples are: The shooting of Rep. Gifford (2011), Aurora, CO. Theater shooting (2012) and the Sandy Hook massacre in Newport, CT. (2013).
adjective -shnəl, -shə-nəl
: relating to emotions
: likely to show or express emotion : easily upset, excited, etc.
: showing emotion
Full Definition of EMOTIONAL
: of or relating to emotion <an emotional disorder>
: dominated by or prone to emotion <an emotional person>
: appealing to or arousing emotion <an emotional sermon>
: markedly aroused or agitated in feeling or sensibilities <gets emotional at weddings
In my opinion when something tragic happens, people’s emotions take over and facts get thrown out the window.
Fact-the Second Amendment was put in place by our founding fathers so American citizens can fight a statist government which is exceeding the authority given to it by the US Constitution NOT to have firearms to hunt critters.
Fact-99.9% of firearm owners do not commit crimes with their firearms.
Fact-the line in the Second Amendment that states, “shall not be infringed” means exactly that. Shale not be infringed…Period. That means no CCW (Conceal Carry With permit) should be needed. That means that if you can afford it, there should be no restrictions to the “arms” you can own. Arms do not mean nuclear missiles which is often thrown out by Progressives. Keep in mind there are other restrictions to owning poisons privately, like nuclear material (s), sarin or mustard gas, explosives, etc. These items are not covered in the Second Amendment.
Comment-If American citizens want to limit firearm ownership then an Amendment should be presented to the country that will repeal or redefine what gun ownership means as per Article 5 of the US Constitution. Remember the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment to the BOR. You cannot legislate laws to circumvent an Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This is unconstitutional.
Hence, no laws established by local, state or Federal government, can infringe upon your rights, your natural rights to protect your family and yourself from crimes by use of a firearm. So in reality a CCW is not needed – Privately or in public! To be frank it is illegal to be required to have a CCW.
So there are my thoughts on the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, stating that current California CCW laws are unconstitutional. In reality, 45 states CCW laws are unconstitutional. The current states that follow the Second Amendment of the BOR are: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming which do not require permitting of conceal carry or open carry of citizens of the United States.
March 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm #63523MaxKeymaster
JohnyMac, that is a great article. Thank you for taking the time to write it and share it.
May 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm #63524MaxKeymaster
You’re forgetting that the first gun control bills were to restrict slaves from acquiring guns. After the Civil War, the Southern states passed many gun control bills to keep guns out of the hands of blacks.
Like modern-day Mohammedans, the Klan didn’t like attacking armed people. Whenever they (accidentally) did, they usually fled in a panic and quieted down for months.
May 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm #63525JohnyMacParticipant
Thank you Michael Gladius. Dooly noted.
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