Gun Control

gun control, government limitation of the purchase and ownership of firearms. The availability of guns is controlled by nations and localities throughout the world. In the United States the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is guaranteed by the Constitution, but has been variously interpreted through the years. Since the late 1930s federal judicial and law enforcement officials generally held that the right exists mainly in the context of the maintenance of a state militia, but in 2002 the Justice Dept., under Attorney General John Ashcroft, indicated that it interpreted the amendment as more broadly supporting the rights of individuals to possess and bear firearms. Such an interpretation was upheld by 2008 and 2010 Supreme Court decisions that nonetheless did not challenge the government's right to place some limitations on the ownership and possession of firearms.

Some U.S. states and localities have enacted strict licensing and other control measures, and federal legislation (1968) prohibited the sale of rifles by mail. Gun control has continued to be widely debated, however, and has often been opposed, notably by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Increasing gun-related crimes together with citizen pressure propelled congressional passage (1993) of the "Brady bill" (named for James Brady, the press secretary seriously wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan) after years of controversy. It required a minimum of a five-day waiting period and background check before a handgun purchase. Parts of the bill were challenged in court, and in 1997 the Supreme Court invalidated its background-check provision. The 1994 Crime Bill outlawed the manufacture, sale, and possession of military-style assault weapons, but it expired in 2004. In 1999, following a rash of shootings at U.S. schools, further gun-control legislation was passed by the Senate but was voted down by the House of Representatives. Attempts by some localities (through legislation) and individuals (through lawsuits) to pursue gun control through the courts by permitting or bringing negligence suits against a gun manufacturer or dealer when a weapon it made or sold was used in a crime led many states and, in 2005, Congress to pass laws limiting such suits. In 2013, however, the Dec., 2012, killing of 26 teachers and first graders at a Newtown, Conn., school led President Obama to propose a new assault weapons ban and other gun-control measures. That legislation died in Congress, but a few states enacted stricter laws.

See study by A. Winkler (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2016, The Columbia University Press.

Gun Control: Selected full-text books and articles

Can Gun Control Work? By James B. Jacobs Oxford University Press, 2002
Heller on the Threshold: Crafting a Gun Insurance Mandate By Hillenbrand, Rob Boston University Law Review, Vol. 95, No. 4, July 2015
Where Do We Go from Here? Handgun Regulation in a Post-Heller World By Craven, Lindsey The William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 2010
Gun Crusaders: The NRA's Culture War By Scott Melzer New York University Press, 2009
Gun Ownership and the Gun Control Index By Gius, Mark Atlantic Economic Journal, Vol. 36, No. 4, December 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Gun Control after Heller and McDonald:. What Cannot Be Done and What Ought to Be Done By Kleck, Gary Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 39, No. 5, October 2012
This Is Gun Country: The International Implications of U.S. Gun Control Policy By Mehalko, Laura Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter 2012
The Effectiveness of Legislation Controlling Gun Usage: A Holistic Measure of Gun Control Legislation By Kwon, Ik-Whan G.; Baack, Daniel W The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 64, No. 2, April 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Global Gun Epidemic: From Saturday Night Specials to AK-47s By Wendy Cukier; Victor W. Sidel Praeger Security International, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Regulation of Firearms"
Constitutional Law - Second Amendment - Fourth Circuit Upholds Federal Firearms Regulation By Harvard Law Review, Vol. 125, No. 3, January 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Doctors for Gun Control By Levy, Robert A Regulation, Vol. 31, No. 4, Winter 2008
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