Posts Tagged ‘gun control’
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Those words, more than any other part of our Nation’s Constitution, have been the most contested. Keeping in mind that this writer is no lawyer, those words really seem simplistic to me. I think they would seem simplistic to Supreme Court Justice Scalia, also. He, of all the members of the Court, seems to have the clearest vision of how to interpret the Constitution…as it was written.
Liberals and self-described scholars seem to have a different view. They believe that the Constitution is a “living document”, one that is fluid and changes with time. Of course, these people only see the changes that benefit them and refuse to open their eyes to those which don’t. A shining example of this is our “press”. The First Amendment says, in part, that “Congress shall make no law….abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” This is freely interpreted by the press as a license to lie to their heart’s desire to accomplish whatever agenda the editorial staff has chosen. I’m not sure that’s what the writers of the Constitution had in mind.
Looking at the language of both amendments, they both seem clear. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and no laws shall be made to abridge the freedom of the press. Simple…to me. But there are those who like to make mountains out of molehills. So, I will try to understand some their arguments here on this page.
Some argue that the Second Amendment was created back when cap and ball muskets were the norm; That the framers couldn’t have anticipated the complex military weaponry available to the masses in this modern era. It’s a good point and deserves some consideration. The only problem is that people arguing this point are the same ones that fail to recognize that the press was a single page letterpress when the Constitution was framed. The framers couldn’t have imagined computers, the internet, podcasts, etc., when they crafted the First Amendment. While the “press” continues to argue for more gun control, noting that the framers couldn’t have anticipated the power of modern weapons to maim and kill, they fail to mention the power of the internet and pod casts to spread their lies and distortions and the damage that can be done to society with such.
I’m willing to compromise. I’m a compromising kind of guy! I’m willing to discuss limits on my firearms if and when the “press” is willing to discuss more liability for those things printed that are not proven to be true. This includes the responsibility to pay for all legal fees for people who challenge…and win…in lawsuits against the “press” for lies and distortions. This includes elimination of the limitations imposed by the definitions of slander and libel. Simple and provable lies, to be determined by a jury, should be punishable in civil court.
I won’t hold my breath on that happening. In the meantime, the “press” and gun control advocates will argue that my right to keep and bear arms CAN and WILL be infringed by laws against open carry, concealed carry, carry in government buildings, bars, schools, sporting events…not to mention restrictions on magazines and round capacity, registration of my weapons, a ban on certain types of weapons, and the requirement that I no longer consider inspection of every area of my life…commonly called a “background check”… as unreasonable search and seizure.
While I am forced to accept all of that for the sake of a false sense of security for the “press”, they continue to degrade our national security by printing classified information, distributing false truths, and supporting political candidates by printing lies and distortions about the challengers of those candidates.
The “press” is currently gearing up for the lies that will encompass the debate on gun control that has been promised by the President. After all, the press is a master of it. The press has coined such terms as “assault weapon” to define any long gun that holds more than 5 rounds of ammunition, “hi capacity clips”, which are magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and “Saturday night special”, which is…well, I’m not really sure of what that is other than an attempt to label inexpensive handguns to sound sinister. All of these terms will be hammered home by the “press”, as they exercise their free speech in an attempt to suppress my right to bear arms.
Ladies and gentlemen, the tragedy at Newton was committed by a mentally damaged young man who illegally possessed firearms that were illegally taken from his mother, illegally carried those arms onto a school campus, illegally carried those arms concealed, and murdered innocent children. Gun control people will tell you that a total ban on all guns for all people would have prevented this. Would it? Cocaine, heroin, and many other drugs have been contraband for years, yet millions of pounds of these substances enter the country every year. Do you really think banning all guns would stop guns from being acquired by bad guys?
Little by little, piece by piece, your gun rights will be chipped away until you can’t own any. This is the end goal of the liberals and the press. It’s time to turn the tables on them. It’s time to start chipping away at the rights of the “free press”. It’s time for reform of libel and slander laws. Time to shut down the National Enquirer, the Poynter Institute, and other lying liberal rags that are working to erode your rights. It’s time for a serious, damaging, all-encompassing boycott of any company that sponsors, advertises, or otherwise supports any form of gun control or the media that supports it. Sure, you may have to give up your Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or stop watching Matt Damon movies. You’ll have to give up a lot. Your other choice is giving up your Constitutional rights.
Which do you prefer?
The following was written by Lane Crabtree of Fort Worth Texas, and is copyrighted 2008
There are quite a few stories in the firearms world relating the idea that GCA68 was the word-for-word translation of the German (Nazi) Weapons Act of 1938 (GWA38). This certainly appears to be at least partially true. It is also apparent GCA68 was patterned after aspects of another post WWI law, German Law on Firearms and Ammunition of 1928 (German Law 1928).
But, there is more to GCA68 than just German gun control laws. Great influence was provided by powerful, charismatic, forces to get German laws incorporated into US Law. And one must realize these laws did not travel from Germany across the Atlantic on their own; they definitely had some help.
The provisions of GCA68 had been hotly sought after by Connecticut Senator Thomas J Dodd and President LB Johnson for several years. It had victories and set backs along the way, and still did not have all the measures they wanted to see in the final bill.
In regard to LBJ’s influence on gun control, it has to be said that there has never been a more convincing and powerful force over the will of Congress. He repeatedly championed the idea of total gun control in the last years of his term as President. At every chance, he used the television and other formal appearances to shamelessly promote the denial of Second Amendment rights to all Americans. We will include quite a few of the excerpts from his speeches and quotes to this end.
GCA68 was preceded by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act (OCCSSA), June 1968. The handgun control provisions in OCCSSA were amended by GCA68 to include rifles and shotguns.
GCA68 took a very convoluted path to passage and ultimately drew upon the murder and assassination of at least three key figures to finally get the needed Congressional sponsorship and public support to pass.
This article will give some insights and history of the passage of what is likely the most precedent-setting, restrictive, and damaging, gun control bill Americans have ever known.
German Gun Laws After World War I
Understandably, after WWI, The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to remove or render useless any arms, munitions, and war materials. Apart from the earlier laws in 1919, and 1920, German gun laws were not actually directed at the rank-and-file German. Instead, they were aimed at persons labeled “undesirables” such as Communists, Gypsies, and Jews. These groups were not legally German citizens as citizenship was refused based on ethnic factor.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, mass roundups were primarily directed at the Communists. Gun registration lists were reviewed to see who on the list were in possession of firearms. These were considered the most dangerous persons to the new leadership and were thus scheduled for pickup and detention in the camps. The noted persecution and roundup of the Jews did not begin in earnest until 1938.
As a whole, the Germans under the Nazis enjoyed the laxest gun control measures since WWI. Gun control did exist, but by the issuance of permits, it allowed the government to weed out anyone they determined not fitting the pattern of a “good German.” Thus, most Germans had little problem in firearms ownership and it was actually encouraged in the Nazi years.
The “Regulations on Weapons Ownership” stated that all firearms and ammunition were to be surrendered immediately. Anyone found with firearms was subject to a fine of 100,000 Marks and 5 years in prison.
The “Law on Disarmament of the People” put into effect the provisions of the Versailles Treaty in regard to military style firearms.
The “Law on Firearms and Ammunition” (German 1928) relaxed the 1919 and 1920 firearms laws, but put strict licensing requirements into effect. Under this measure, Germans were permitted to own firearms, but were required to have separate permits (registration) to own or sell firearms, carry firearms, manufacture firearms, and professionally deal in firearms and ammunition. This law specifically revoked the 1919 Regulations on Weapons Ownership law. The 1928 law brought Germany from a period of unrest after WWI and brutal firearms seizure policy (and even on-the-spot executions) to a comprehensive gun control program.
We will take this time to point out that this law, not GWA38, is what the Nazis used to round-up “undesirables” owning or possessing firearms since they had registered them upon purchase or at the time the law was passed. German Law 1928 had been in effect for 5 years before the Nazis came into power in 1933, and would remain in effect for 5 more years before the next German gun control law would be passed. Many story-tellers like to say that the Nazis enacted special laws when they came into power in 1933 to register persons with firearms and then go around confiscating them, specifically from the Communists and Jews.
This story is simply not accurate as laws in place at the time served the Nazis well. What DID happen is that they used the existing registration lists to round up a selected list of undesirable persons to be sent to the camps. Weapons were also confiscated, but that was of little importance to the owners since they would not have a chance to use them in the work camps. It seems they forgot to use their guns to defend themselves.
The “German Weapons Act” (GWA38) passed on March 18, 1938, superseded German Law 1928. Its provisions filled 12 pages in the Reichsgesetzblatt (Reich Legal Gazette or German equivalent of the U.S. Federal Register). Nazi Party members, government workers, and hunting permit holders were allowed to own firearms without any review or license. Firearm restrictions now only applied to handguns, but non-exempt persons still had to show “trustworthiness” and valid reason to own a handgun. Transfer of long guns and ammunition was deregulated. The legal age of gun ownership was dropped to18. Firearms permits were extended to three years from the previous one year. Jews were forbidden manufacturing and sales of firearms; however, some were still permitted to own personal firearms, assuming they had not been labeled an “enemy of the state.” This “generosity” toward the Jews would not last long however.
On November 7, 1938, a 17-year old Jewish son of a deported father went to the German embassy in Paris intending to shoot the ambassador. Instead he shot and killed the third secretary in the Embassy, who incidentally was being watched by the Gestapo because he opposed anti-Semitism and Nazism. This was enough “justification” to issue a “crack-down” on the Jews.
On November 11, 1938, the “Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons” deprived all Jews the right to possess firearms or any other weapons such as clubs and knives. Much to their discredit, the Jews willingly gave up their firearms under this decree. If they had taken a stand with their firearms, perhaps it could have been somewhat different for them in the end.
One noted Jewish exception and act of resistance was at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. Even though not in Germany-proper, all Jews under German held territories were subject to surrendering their guns. The gutsy group at the Warsaw ghetto held the Nazis at bay for three months with just a few weapons and very little ammunition. Approximately 56,000 were eventually captured and shot on the spot or sent to the death camp at Treblinka. This rebellion vexed the Nazi efforts enough to make a place in the history books describing an armed standoff by determined peoples. Most Jews went to the death camps with no resistance and under very little guard.
The concept of firearms with “no sporting use” came from GWA38. It was forbidden to manufacture or possess “firearms which are adapted for folding or telescoping, shortening, or rapid disassembly beyond the generally usual extent for hunting and sporting purposes.”
Firearms with silencers or spotlights were prohibited. .22 caliber rimfire cartridges with hollow point bullets were outlawed. All firearms now were required to have serial numbers.
The penalty for willfully or negligently violating the provisions of the law related to the carrying of a firearm was up to three-year imprisonment and a fine. A fine and indefinite imprisonment was imposed on anyone who violated other provisions of the law or regulations.
The Nuremberg Trials
After WWII, the Allied powers decided to put over one hundred Nazis on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Nuremberg was where GWA38 was enacted (1938) as well as all the other Nazi laws (1935) and was a Nazi rally point every summer.
Supreme Court Justice Robert H Johnson was reported to have remarked on his unusual selection of the completely bombed-out city of Nuremberg for the trials, “This is where the Nazis began and this is where they will come to an end.”
As part of the US prosecuting group, Thomas J Dodd stood as assistant to Justice Jackson. Thomas Dodd is a key figure here, because 22 years later, he would become the author and sponsor of GCA68 and several other gun control bills in the mid 1960s.
Even though the subject of German firearms laws never surfaced directly in the trials, it is quite possible and even probable that Thomas Dodd studied German gun control laws while in Germany and perhaps even took copies of some of them home after the trials. While it cannot be absolutely determined that he took home copies, it is uncontestable that he indeed had a copy in his possession by 1968.
A letter from the Library of Congress has been found, dated July, 1968, where a librarian returned to Senator Dodd the 1938 German law translated into English as he had requested of them, along with the Xerox copy he furnished for the translation. In this matter, it raises the intriguing question of why he furnished a copy of the 1938 law to the Library since they had their own copy to use.
Some speculate that Senator Dodd spoke German as was apparent during the trials when he cross-examined witnesses. While the President of the hearings repeatedly asked some witnesses to slow down so the interpreter could keep up, Senator Dodd never made the same request. So, it would not be a stretch to assume that he did follow the German language. And you might ask, if he could converse in German, why the translation to start with? The answer, it appears, was to “launder” GWA38 through the Library of Congress to fend off any criticism that the legislation closely resembled GWA38.
It is also interesting to note that when President LBJ tried to push for registration and licensing of all firearms in the US in 1965, Senator Dodd remarked “that’s Nazi legislation.” Now, how did he know that unless he was very familiar with Nazi laws? We could certainly speculate that Senator Dodd had been doing some heavy study of German gun control laws for several years prior to the mid 1960′s.
Dodd at Home
After returning home from 18 months at the Trials, Thomas Dodd eventually ran for the US House of Representatives from Connecticut in 1952 and won the election. He served two terms in the House. In 1958, he ran for the Senate, was elected and served yet another term starting in 1964.
As US Senator from Connecticut, it just-so-happened that Senator Dodd represented the center of American firearms industry, and the home of one of the holy-of-holies in the firearms world, Colt Manufacturing. At that time, Connecticut was the headquarters not only of Colt, but of High Standard, Remington, Mossberg, Winchester-Western, Sturm-Ruger, and Marlin. Let’s just ask ourselves who is missing from this lineup? Can’t think of any, can you?
Upon further investigation, we find that Senator Dodd had the encouragement and support of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute to author GCA68 since it would eliminate import of “non-sporting rifles” and other firearms that could be sold cheaper than US manufacturers could produce. It is said that Senator Dodd seldom made a legislative move without consultation from this manufacturing group. Could this be a “smoking gun” for his rather staunch involvement in gun control laws? This could be a legitimate claim, since in 1967 he was embroiled in a scandal. Several of Dodd’s staff charged that, “while drafting, with the collaboration of the arms industry, legislation to control the interstate shipment of firearms and other matters of fundamental interest to that industry, he accepted upwards of $4,000 in political and personal donations from arms industry officials.” A Senate vote to censure Senator Dodd was successful on June 23, 1967 on the charge of misappropriating campaign funds for personal use.
Senator Dodd was also involved on the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency starting in 1961, seeking to limit the mail order of firearms, and handguns in particular.
Dodd was working on these problems when providential events shown their light on him. Events which would propel him further down the road to his infamous gun control legislation. Prominent leaders were being gunned down in public. The President was calling for gun control measures. Eureka!
Murders and Civil Unrest in the 60′s Fuel the Fire for Gun Control
After JFK was gunned down in Dallas in Nov 1963, Senator Dodd started his real anti-gun bent, but Congress resisted his efforts.
Strangely, the NRA found his measures interesting and even helped to draft the bill he was working on – which the NRA neglected to mention to their membership. Instead they told members they testified against the bill which kept it from coming out of committee. During this time and quite to the contrary of its leadership, the NRA magazine, The American Rifleman, ran 30 articles in 1964 against gun control, but never revealed they had been for the bill. Schizophrenic behavior, to say the least.
In the period 1964 – 1968 urban riots and civil unrest increased the demand on firearms for self-defense, particularly in the big cities. Handgun sales went from 600,000 a year in the early 60s to an estimated 2.4 million in 1968. These sales greatly alarmed many since figures showed a corresponding increase in gun violence in big cities like Detroit. Senator Dodd had been working on this problem in his Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency starting in 1961. GCA68 would address interstate sales of handguns as well as cheap imports in an attempt to quell staggering numbers of handgun sales.
In 1965 Senator Dodd was at it again, drafting a strict gun control measure in the Senate to support LBJ’s new push to regulate firearms. On March 8, 1965, the President, equating “the ease with which any person can acquire firearms” to the country’s rising violent crime rate, called for increased gun controls. At this time, their efforts were blocked by wildly pro-gun support from the NRA, members of Congress, American Legion, gun importers, and dealers.
Dodd blamed defeats on “the blind, almost mindless, efforts of a segment of the gun enthusiasts, with their shabby, time-worn slogans.” Dodd even threatened an investigation “to identify and expose the activities of the powerful lobbyists who have successfully stopped gun legislation from being passed in every Congress.” Poor Senator Dodd was not getting his way. He must have temporarily forgotten his sworn oath-to-office that mentions supporting the Constitution, not subverting it.
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King was gunned down on April 4, 1968. King’s murder was used as justification to bring more gun control to America. The following day, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act (OCCSSA) passed out of committee and was the first anti-gun bill to do so since 1938.
After Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968 (and subsequently died the next day), a ground-swell of public support for even stricter anti-gun laws reached high levels. Polls conducted at that time showed that 80 percent of Americans thought laws controlling handguns should be stricter, still. This pressure caused Congress to cave-in and they crossed-over to the anti-gun camp.
Former Astronaut and political aspirant John Glenn headed a group called the Emergency Committee for Gun Control. This movement carried the high ground for a few months, but the tide turned back to the pro-gun groups after that.
In 1968, LBJ intensified his efforts at gun control by using the “bully pulpit” to embarrass Congress into enacting gun control legislation.
Especially firm was the appeal in his Address to the Nation, June 5, 1968, following the shooting of Robert Kennedy, to express a desire to curb firearms traffic LBJ stated, “Let the Congress pass laws to bring the insane traffic in guns to a halt, as I have appealed to them time and time again to do. That will not, in itself, end the violence, but reason and experience tell us that it will slow it down; that it will spare many innocent lives.”
On June 6, 1968, President Johnson sent a letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House urging passage of an effective gun control law.
“I call upon the Congress in the name of sanity, in the name of safety–and in the name of an aroused nation–to give America the Gun Control Law it needs.
I urge the Congress to make it unlawful to sell rifles and shotguns–as well as hand guns–by mail order.
I urge the Congress to make it unlawful to sell rifles and shotguns–as well as hand guns–to persons who are too young to bear the terrible responsibility that is placed in the hands of a gun owner.
I urge the Congress to make it unlawful to sell rifles and shotguns–as well as hand guns–in one State to residents of another.
This will not prevent legitimate hunters or sportsmen from purchasing firearms but with this reinforced law we can give the States the proper incentive to shape their own gun control legislation, and the country can at long last have a network of systematic safeguards for all our citizens.”
The House and Senate now acted quickly and drafted their versions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act which, again, received stiff resistance from pro-gun groups.
By this time, the NRA had its head-on-straight and was firmly against any and all anti-gun legislation at all levels of its organization. It was outraged NRA members, almost a million strong, which helped water-down the provisions of the OCCSSA by petitioning Congress with letters and phone calls.
As a result of constituent-pressures, Congress had a set-back on OCCSSA with a tie vote in the House Judiciary Committee. President Johnson kept up the anti-gun pressure with the following statement on June 11, 1968.
“The deadlock in the House Judiciary Committee, which resulted in the defeat of the strict gun control legislation I recommended yesterday, is a bitter disappointment to all Americans and to the President. There is no excuse whatsoever for failure to act to prohibit the interstate mail-order sale of rifles. Of the 2 million guns added each year to the arsenal already in the hands of millions of Americans, 1 million are sold by mail order houses in interstate commerce. And 30 percent of the murders by firearms committed each year in this country are by rifle and shotgun fire.
I hope that the House Judiciary Committee will promptly reconsider this shocking blow to the safety of every citizen in this country.”
With this last push from LBJ, OCCSSA passed through the Senate and House and was signed into law on June 19, 1968. The OCCSSA prohibited interstate trade in handguns, increased the minimum age to 21 for buying handguns, and established a national gun licensing system. OCCSSA really had more to do with things like civil rights provisions, legalizing wiretapping, and other anti-crime measures besides gun control. GCA68 would soon follow and greatly enhance gun control measures passed by the OCCSSA.
This was still not the full-up gun-registration bill LBJ and Dodd wanted. After the OCCSSA became law, the Dodd subcommittee continued work on drafting gun registration and licensing bills such as “To Require the Registration of Firearms” (S.3604), “To Disarm Lawless Persons” (S.3634), and “To Provide for the Establishment of a National Firearms Registry” (S.3637). Senator Joseph Tydings, chairing some of the meetings for Senator Dodd, attempted to pass a bill that would have required a license issued directly from the Secretary of the Treasury to possess a firearm of any type.
During these times of overshadowing by pro-gunners, Senator Dodd used terms like “blackmail, intimidation, and unscrupulous propaganda” to describe NRA efforts at blocking gun control measures. Dodd’s comments were ironic, to say the least, since he had been censured just one year earlier for unethical behavior.
Victory At Last
In the following few months, despite efforts by pro-gunners to kill the bill, GCA68 came to life and on Oct 22, 1968, LBJ signed the Act. Senator Dodd’s efforts over 5 years had come to fruition.
After signing the new bill, LBJ made a speech in regard to GCA68 where he gloats over the provisions and reveals his true gun-grabbing-self in the process. Notice the clever use of terms like “murder by mail order,” “insane,” “criminal,” and “irresponsible,” as if to paint ALL American gun-owners with a broad brush. And, lastly, he shames American citizens for being outspoken in defending their Constitutionally protected freedoms. LBJ was a real piece of work.
“We have come here to the Cabinet Room today to sign the most comprehensive gun control law ever signed in this Nation’s history.
Some of you may be interested in knowing-really-what this bill does: It stops murder by mail order. It bars the interstate sale of all guns and the bullets that load them.
It stops the sale of lethal weapons to those too young to bear their terrible responsibility.
It puts up a big “off-limits” sign, to stop gunrunners from dumping cheap foreign “$10 specials” on the shores of our country.
Congress adopted most of our recommendations. But this bill, as big as this bill is, still falls short, because we just could not get the Congress to carry out the requests we made of them. I asked for the national registration of all guns and the licensing of those who carry those guns. For the fact of life is that there are over 160 million guns in this country–more firearms than families. If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country. …
The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year. …
We have made much progress, but not nearly enough.”
GCA68 Provisions and Corresponding German Gun Laws
There was not any traditional basis in American law to curb ownership of firearms other than machineguns so Senator Dodd and other legislators drew from German Law 1928 and GWA38 as the basis to create their legislation. There is no believable alternate conclusion to be drawn. The parallels are staggering.
1.GCA68, Created the overseeing agency, the ATF. – GWA38, designated the SS (Schutzstaffel or Defense Squadron) and SA (Sturm Abteilung or Storm Section) as overseers.
2.GCA68, Established that all who deal in firearms sales and manufacturing be federally licensed. – German Law 1928, all who own and sell firearms must be licensed.
3.GCA68, No interstate transfer of firearms between non-licensees
4.GCA68, No shipping of firearms through the mail
5.GCA68, Established minimum age for firearms purchasers. – GWA38, age established at 18.
6.GCA68, Required all firearms to have serial numbers. – GWA38, all firearms must have serial numbers.
7.GCA68, Expanded definition of “prohibited persons.” – GWA38, created list of prohibited persons.
8.GCA68, Established the US concept of “non-sporting purpose” firearms. – GWA38, banned “non-sporting” firearms.
9.GCA68, Established Form 4473 (defacto gun registration). – GWA38, created registration for guns and gun owners.
10.GCA68, Restricted import and sale of “Saturday Night Special” handguns. – GWA38, added handguns to restricted list.
11.GCA68, Established sentencing guidelines for firearm-involved crimes. – German Law1928, established sentences for firearms violations
Legitimate Sporting Use?
One of the most troubling points of GCA68 and the one that irritates para-military rifle owners the most, is the new idea (in US law) that some firearms are not suitable to own because they do not fulfill any “legitimate sporting purpose.” Legitimate sporting purpose is not defined in any legislation language and as such, can be interpreted as the regulating agency likes. This has proven to be the case over the years.
This idea is so completely foreign to American firearm ownership and could only have come from GWA38. In fact, the Second Amendment is based on the idea that our countrymen have the same firearms as the military since they could be called on to support troops in the case of foreign invasion. This was the purpose of the militia. The militia of 1776 had the same small arms and cannon as the British. This is how they were able to fight a somewhat even battle against trained British regulars. Thus, to establish what type or class of firearms could be owned by Americans is truly a foreign concept. At least one reason that the Germans wanted this law was to make doubly sure that no one could rise-up against them with semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons, however remote a possibility that was in 1938.
Firearms deemed to have no legitimate sporting use were not allowed to be imported as a result of GCA68. Of course, the class of non-sporting-use firearms we are referring to are semi-automatic rifles such as the AK-47, Uzi, FAL, FNC, H&K-91, etc.
We should have asked ourselves in 1968, what was going on that our government was afraid of US citizens owning military style firearms? With GCA68, government agencies were exempted from this regulation which citizens had to endure. Government agencies could import and use whichever non sporting-use firearms they desired. This was the same as GWA38 had provisioned. It essentially changed a right to own the firearms of choice into the privilege of the few.
GWA38 created a list of persons prohibited from buying firearms. Prohibited types were Gypsies or vagabonds, incompetents or the mentally deficient, under age 18, persons under police supervision (parole), persons convicted of treason or hostile to the state, and persons sentenced to terms of more than 2 weeks within the last 3 years.
GCA68 listed persons prohibited from buying firearms. Minors defined as under 18 for long guns and under 21 for handguns, felons, fugitives, defendants under indictment, mental defectives or persons committed to mental institutions, users of marijuana, depressants, stimulants, or narcotics, and persons having a dishonorable discharge from the military service. This list of prohibitions was the majority of Form 4473 which was required to be filled out and signed by the purchaser for every firearm bought from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer.
Both the German and US gun control laws specified the very forms to be used by government agencies to control and track firearms. ATF Form 4473 was the form specified by GCA68 which required the buyer to state that he or she is not in violation of any of the items listed on the form as described above. German Law1928 required individual gun owners to submit paperwork to prove they are trusted citizens. This paperwork was used, in turn, to create a license.
Although not in GCA68, several states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, require citizens to carry firearms owners identification (FOID) cards based on Nazi format. Specifically, this was titled “Waffen Oder Munitionserwerbscheins” (German for “License to obtain a weapon or ammunition” ) from German 1928. In Illinois, gun owners must present this paper to even purchase ammunition.
GWA38 enhanced German Law1928 by adding handguns to the restricted ownership list. GCA68 severely restricted the import and sale of inexpensive handguns deemed “Saturday Nigh Specials” or “Suicide Specials.”
German Law1928 called for complete registration of all firearms and firearms owners through the issuance of permits.
A “defacto” or back-door registration system was created with ATF Form 4473 which was termed “the Yellow Sheet” for decades, and is essentially gun registration. While this information will usually lay dormant at the FFL’s business, it is subject to release to any BATFE agent for virtually any reason. Once in the hands of federal agents, the firearm and owner are essentially “registered.”
The Gun Control Act of 1968 is especially troubling considering Senator Dodd is hailed as a “hero” for his work at Nuremberg to punish Nazi leaders and putting an end to their chapter. Yet, here he is resurrecting Nazi laws in the United States of America where tens-of-thousands of GIs fought and died to stop the spread of Nazism! Hard to believe, but true. The proof is in the bill.