Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gun Control Act
The United States’ primary gun law is the Gun Control Act of 1968. It was drafted following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald using a mail-order gun. It was passed in the wake of the murders of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY). These historic events, combined with rising rates of crime and violence throughout the United States, were instrumental in passage of the law, which was sponsored by Senator Thomas Dodd (D-CT), a former prosecutor of Nazi war crimes. The aim of the act was to keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them because of age, criminal background, or incompetence. The Gun Control Act of 1968 greatly expanded the only two prior federal gun laws existing in the United States, the Prohibition-era National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) ...