Gun Control Debate Handout

Gun Control Debate Handout - Source:...

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Source: http://www.newsbatch.com/guncontrol.htm What are the latest developments in the U.S. gun control controversy? In a major victory for gun control opponents, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2008 that the 2nd Amendment does protect the strictest forms of gun control by rejecting the argument of a more narrow interpretation - that the right is limited to militias. The ruling does not prevent reasonable efforts at gun control but it does prohibit the kind of outright ban of handguns that has existed in Washington D.C. . Gun control was not a major issue in the 2004 Presidential campaign nor does it appear to be a prominent issue in the 2008 campaign. The percentage of Americans who consider "gun control" as an important issue has declined from 3% to 1%. Fewer Americans are supportive of gun control in general and handgun control in particular. While the issue has dropped in overall public concern, it remains what politicians consider a "wedge issue" as many opponents of gun control are passionate about their right to unfettered gun ownership and may make voting decisions on this issue alone. Gun control opponents raise far more money than do gun control advocates. The 2008 Democratic platform affirms the 2nd Amendment right of Americans to own weapons while supporting the extension of the assault weapon ban and closing the "gun show" loophole. The Republican Platform contains a strong affirmation of the right to own guns and supports the June 2008 Supreme Court decision. What is the present level of gun control in the United States? Like many other aspects of public policy, gun control is a matter of federal, state and even local legislation. Federal Gun Control . The first major gun control initiative was enacted by Congress in 1934 which regulated the sale of fully automatic firearms like machine guns. This legislation was followed in 1938 by a new federal law which required gun sellers to be licensed and which prohibited persons convicted of violent felonies from purchasing guns. No further legislation was passed by Congress until 1968. The Gun Control Act of 1968 regulated imported guns, expanded gun-dealer licensing requirements, and expanded the list of persons not eligible to purchase guns to include persons convicted of any non-business related felony, minors, persons found to be mentally incompetent, and users of illegal drugs. In 1986, federal legislation established mandatory penalties for the use of a gun in the commission of a federal crime. Also prohibited were "cop killer" bullets capable of penetrating bulletproof clothing. In 1990, legislation was passed which banned the manufacturing and importation of semi-automatic assault weapons. In 1994, Congress passed what has been regarded as the most comprehensive effort at
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Gun Control Debate Handout - Source:...

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