Brief History of Firearms Law Regulation
This research paper will discuss the history of firearms regulation in the united states and how modern firearms laws came to be. It will inform the reader about modern firearm purchasing procedures to include background check procedures and what kind of firearms are heavily regulated. Also, will go into detail about NFA items and the laws surrounding them, the lawful use of firearms to defend oneself and the effects on concealed carry permits on gun violence.
Since the beginning of American history American patriots and civilians have legally owned firearms and used them for a plethora of tasks. Firearms are a tool that can be used for personal protection, sport shooting and hunting. In the past 100 years new legislation has forever changed the way Americans buy and sell firearms.
From strict laws regulating the firearms Americans can own, to changing the firearm purchase process.
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Gun control measures are always the first thing brought up after firearm related violence in the united states. Although increasing firearms regulation does not always reduce violent crime. There is a significant amount of information to be learned from previous firearm regulations and how firearm purchases are currently conducted to lawful defensive use of firearms
High violent crime rates are often looked at because of too many guns being on the street and gun control supporters think that more gun control regulations will limit the amount of firearm violence in the united states. But that is simply not the case. “Gun laws control the types of firearms that may be purchased, designate the qualifications of those who may purchase and own a firearm and also restrict the safe storage and use of firearms” (Moorhouse and Wanner,2006,103) this means that federal and state governments are in control of the firearm industry. Meaning they control who buys, owns, and transport any sort of firearms or ammunition. The first bit of gun control came in the early 1900s by the name of the national firearms act.
Established in 1934 the National Firearms Act (NFA) was passed into legislation. “the original legislation required a tax on the making and transfer of certain firearms and accessories, as well as a tax on the people engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing, and dealing in NFA firearms” (ATF, 2018) The weapons covered by the National Firearms Act include but are not limited to all rifles and shotguns with barrels less than 16 inches.
Also included are suppressors, any sound deadening device, and any form of automatic weapon. Today you can acquire short barreled rifles, shotguns, and suppressors from most local firearms dealers, but you must pay a $200 tax stamp which gets imputed at the time of the purchase and signifies that you have been approved by the federal government to own that piece of equipment. The stamps currently take 4-6 months to process for suppressors and less than a year for short barreled rifles and shotguns. After the National Firearms Act was put into effect the next major firearms legislation passed was the gun control act.
The gun control act came after a significantly lengthy period of political rest on gun control. The gun control act that we have in place today was passed in 1968 after “rising crime rates, administration support, and the murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy” (Vizzard,2015, pg. 882). The gun control act put an end to mail order gun sales and requiring all firearms to be serialized and for sales to only be conducted by federally licensed firearms dealers.
The bill also banned citizens from purchasing handguns outside of their state of residence and limited all private sales to be conducted only by residents of the same state. The final part of the bill banned anyone under 21 years of age from purchasing handguns or handgun ammunition, this clause was in effect until 2018 after the parkland shooting in which the law changed to barring anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing firearms and ammunition. To purchase a firearm from a dealer everyone must undergo comprehensive background checks
The comprehensive background checks are conducted by firearms dealers and must be done every time anyone purchases a firearm. These checks give the buyers information to the state law enforcement organization who in turn runs the information through federal and worldwide criminal history databases. If the buyer does not possess a concealed weapon permit or isn’t active law enforcement must wait a 3-day “grace period” after purchasing a firearm before they can legally take it home with them. This 3-day hold doesn’t include holidays or weekends.
This was initially put in place to possibly deter people from buying a firearm with the intent to immediately go commit a crime. Each time a citizen wants to purchase a firearm the dealer must conduct a state background check on the buyer to make sure they are eligible to own a firearm. These forms must be submitted every time a firearm is sold and are heavily regulated and regularly audited by ATF. Contrary to popular belief there is no national, state or local firearms registry.
If a firearm is stolen and recovered or used in a crime. To track down the lawful owner of the firearm the law enforcement agency working the investigation must first contact the manufacturer of the firearm and the manufacture will tell the law enforcement personnel which dealer the firearm was sold to, and in turn the agency will contact the local firearm dealer and they will tell the police who the gun was sold to.
Firearms dealers are required to keep background check form 4473 on file for 20 years following the purchase of the firearm. Firearms are used daily for civilians to defend themselves against serious bodily harm Millions of Americans use and carry firearms daily to defend themselves and their families. A survey conducted Gary kleck showed “firearms are used as much as 2.5 million times per year to defend against crime” (Kleck,1995) the state of Florida has a system in place to grant concealed weapons permits to any person who is not otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm.
Florida also has a law in place called the stand your ground law. The stand your ground law as written by Florida state statutes state “Deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”(Fl state statute 776.013, 2017) what this means is that someone can use deadly force to defend themselves as long as a reasonable person would consider themselves in danger of serious bodily harm.
- MOORHOUSE, J. C., & WANNER, B. (2006). DOES GUN CONTROL REDUCE CRIME OR DOES CRIME INCREASE GUN CONTROL? CATO JOURNAL, 26(1), 103-124. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://SEARCH-PROQUEST-COM.PRX-KEISER.LIRN.NET/DOCVIEW/195598468?ACCOUNTID=35796
- VIZZARD, W. J. (2015). THE CURRENT AND FUTURE STATE OF GUN POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES. JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY, 104(4), 879-904. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://SEARCH-PROQUEST-COM.PRX-KEISER.LIRN.NET/DOCVIEW/1749276899?ACCOUNTID=35796
- BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS. (2018, APRIL 26). BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.ATF.GOV/RULES-AND-REGULATIONS/NATIONAL-FIREARMS-A4. GARY KLECK AND MARK GERTZ. ARMED RESISTANCE TO CRIME: TGE PREVALENCE NATURE OF SELF DEFENCE WITH A GUN, 86, RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://SEARCH-PROQUEST-COM.PRX-KEISER.LIRN.NET/DOCVIEW/1749276899?ACCOUNTID=357965. STATE OF FLORIDA. (2017, July 07). FLORIDA STATE STATUTES.
- Retrieved from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html