Sample Term Paper

The 20th century saw a few policy changes for the ruling class in the United State in favor of gun control. The first such legislation that brought to light the controlled use of arms was in 1934, when the Congress enacted the National Firearms Act of 1934. The Act concentrated on regulating the sales of fully automatic firearms such as machine guns, introducing a transfer tax and strict registration requirements for those and short-barreled long guns (Krouse, 2002).

It was centered on limiting access to weapons more commonly perceived as gangster weapons, such as automatic machine guns. Moreover, it also regulated arms that may be concealed (such as belt buckle guns but not revolvers or pistols) by introducing special taxes on them. Registration requirements with the Secretary of Treasury ensured that the manufacturing and distribution process was monitored. In 1938, the enactment of a new federal law made it compulsory for gun sellers to be registered, excluding persons convicted of violent felonies from purchasing weapons. Another regulation on similar grounds did not see the light of day till 1968, when the Gun Control Act was enacted. This was much more comprehensive than its predecessor, making extensive use of registration and licensing requirements at the hands of gun dealers, prohibiting the sale of weapons by mail-orders, barring interstate sales, consequently regulating imports of guns, as well as extending the list of people ineligible to purchase weapons so as to include persons convicted of a non-business related felony, minors, mentally handicapped individuals, drug addicts etc.

It also limited access to new assault weapons. License holders were prohibited from letting a person under the age of 18 handle a rifle or a shotgun, or one under 21 to be allowed the use of handguns. Together these two Acts constitute the two most important statutes regulating the use of weapons federally. No further legislation was enacted for another couple of decades until 1986, when federal law necessitated a few penalties for gun related crimes, prohibiting the use of armor piercing bullets. In 1990, furthering the limited access policy for assault weapons as seen in 1968, the government banned the use and manufacture of semi-automatic assault-weapons.

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