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Gun Violence in the United States 2

It wasn't until 1934 that any major gun control laws were enacted under the National Firearms Act which was put into place by the administration of then President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt. The law was brought about due to the unruliness and growth of gangster ethics and culture that had developed since the onset of The Volstead Act which was written to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This Amendment effectually shaped the prohibition of any and all alcoholic beverages by proclaiming the transport, production and sale of them illegal. The act was sanctioned in the hopes that automatic-fire weapons such as machine guns would be limited or eliminated within the country. Short-barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers, and "device-types" of hidden firearms such as those concealed in other objects such as canes were also under attack through the legislation. A new tax of $200 per item was levied on gun manufacturers as well as sellers for each gun made or sold. To equate that dollar amount in today's currency would be comparable to more than a $2500.00 fine. Additionally, individuals that were buyers of firearms were mandated to complete detailed paperwork that was subject to approval by the Department of the Treasury. The Amendment was repealed in 1933 in the only occasion in US history where an event of that type has occurred, leaving from the Amendment only the power of the federal government to regulate transportation and was otherwise virtually replaced by the confirmation of the Twenty-first Amendment. Fundamentally, the Amendment was a complete failure and gangster related gun violence rose enormously during the years of its enforcement.

The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 was the first legislation that required individuals and companies functioning in the business of selling firearms to keep records of the names of the buyers of their products. The legislation was passed by Congress primarily directed at businesses and individuals involved in selling and shipping firearms across state lines or those dealing with conduits of foreign commerce. Anyone involved in the selling of firearms was required to obtain a Federal Firearms License from the Secretary of Commerce. The Act also prohibited the sale of firearms to those convicted of specific crimes as well as individuals lacking a valid permit.

The next important legislative action was the 1968 Gun Control Act which expanded the 1934 National Firearms Act and was signed by then President Lyndon Johnson. This Act largely structured the firearms industry in addition to owners of firearms. During the investigation by the Warren Commission into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, it was learned that when he was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald the instrument of the murder was a mail-order firearm. Based on these findings, the bill outlawed mail order sales of shotguns and rifles. Previously, any individual ordering a firearm by this method only had to sign a statement that they were over eighteen years of age for a rifle or shotgun, and twenty-one years of age for a handgun. The subsequent assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King powered the swift passage of the bill and motivated Congress to approve these major revisions to existing federal gun laws and regulations. Further detailed records became mandatory for gun dealers and licensing requirements were expanded to include more of the manufacturers and vendors. Sales of handguns across state lines were further regulated and the types of individuals prohibited from purchasing firearms from legitimate merchants included those convicted of most felonies, drug users and individuals previously found to be mentally incompetent, among others. The revisions clarified which persons were banned entirely from owning and possessing firearms, and upheld further restrictions of shotgun and rifles sales.

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