1968 Retrospect: Gun Control

The recent tragic shootings will no doubt once again raise the debate on gun control. It is interesting to note that there was very little gun control in the United States prior to 1968.

However, let’s take a look at the nationwide gun control legislation prior to 1968:

  • 1927: The first nationwide gun control law passed, banning the mailing of handguns.
  • 1934: Fully automated firearms are heavily regulated, owners are required register, and heavy transfer taxes are imposed.
  • 1938: The first broad legislation impacting all guns. Guns dealers were required to be federally licensed and keep records of who purchased guns. Violent felons were prohibited from owning firearms.

Then on October 22nd, 1968 the strongest gun control legislation in US history was passed. The Gun Control Act of 1968 included the following provisions:

  • The mail-order sale of all firearms was prohibited except between licensed manufacturers, dealers, and collectors.
  • The importation of non-sporting (i.e. military grade) weaponry is prohibited.
  • Firearms sales are prohibited to those who are convicted of any non-business felony, are mentally incompetent, or use drugs.
  • Sales of handguns were prohibited to those under 21, and other guns were prohibited to those under 18.

Imagine that: Just 40 years ago, your 15-year-old son could go out and buy a handgun!

What, Now I Can’t Bring My Grenades onto the Plane?

A member of the military was arrested today after trying to go through airport security with two grenades in Yakima, Washington. Okay, they were training grenades. They had live fuses but no explosives in them. But really, what was this guy thinking? I know, I know, it was probably an “honest mistake”–pipe down. But was it really an honest mistake?

When I pack for a flight, I first go through each pocket of the luggage and remove everything. That way, I know I’m starting off legal. Then as I’m packing, I’m thinking about each item to make sure it’s going to pass happily through security. Once the kids are finished packing, I do my own separate security search of their bags. They last thing I need is a full body cavity search from an oh-so-friendly TSA agent brought on by the kids loading up their luggage with guns, bombs, and knives–just to see how much fun it is to get dad in trouble.

Sorry, I don’t give this guy a pass. For the privilege of flying, you need to take a few extra minutes to exercise some responsibility in how and what you pack.

Last Iwo Jima Flag-Raiser Dies

Raymond Jacobs died on January 29, 2008 of natural causes in Redding, California. He is believed to be the last surviving member of the group photographed raising the United States flag over Iwo Jima during World War II on February 23, 1945. This photograph is believed to be one of the most reproduced photographs in history.

It is really difficult to watch this generation leave us. They gave so much of their most productive years to make this country strong, yet asked so little in return.

Many spent a good portion of their childhood in poverty during the Great Depression. They didn’t enjoy the affluent, care-free lifestyle that our kids enjoy today. They were working, many times to the exclusion of an education, to help put food on the table.

Then, as they were reaching adulthood, World War II broke out. From when the United States joined the war in 1941 until the war ended in 1946, 16 million served in the military. Many more served on the home front working in factories supporting the war effort, running recycling drives, bond drives, etc.

When they returned home, they were expected to join the workforce, start families, and build this country into an industrial giant. Once again, they did so with no complaints. However, they were effectively robbed of their childhood and their “oat-sowing” early adult years.

Of the 16 million that served in World War II, only about 3 million are still with us. To this day, they are a quiet, humble people. To them, they were just doing what anyone would do. However, I happen to agree that these are amazing giants that deserve the title The Greatest Generation.

To Raymond Jacobs and everyone else in his generation (military and civilian): We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your service to this country, and for your tireless work to make this the greatest nation this planet has ever known. We owe you a debt that we cannot ever hope to repay.