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Crime and PoliticsBig Government's Erratic Campaign for Law and Order$
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Ted Gest

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195103434

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195103432.001.0001

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Guns Don't Kill?

Guns Don't Kill?

Chapter:
(p.133) Chapter 7 Guns Don't Kill?
Source:
Crime and Politics
Author(s):

Ted Gest (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195103432.003.0008

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

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