SC upholds assault weapon ban in Chicago
The United States Supreme Court refused to hear a plea challenging the ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The decision is seen as another move by the SC in giving support to states that want tighter gun control legislation. Critics accuse the court of infringing upon an individuals' second amendment rights that gives them the right to bear arms.
The first ever federal gun control law, National Firearms Act of 1934 was passed. The law restricted the sale or manufacture of only machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. Further, all the gun sales would be recorded in the national registry. The act also imposed a statutory excise duty on the manufacture of certain firearms.
After assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Gun Control Act of 1968. The new laws prohibited all convicted felons, drug users and the mentally ill from buying guns. The minimum age to buy handguns from a federally licensed dealer was raised to 21.
After multiple reports of the Government abusing its power to enforce gun laws in the country, the Congress decided to cut its wings by passing the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. It altered a number of provisions of the 1968 Gun control act. It prohibited multiple inspections from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Department at gun dealers in a year.
The US Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, granting immunity to the gun manufacturers from civil lawsuits filed for the crimes committed with their firearms. The gun control activists were trying to oppose this legislation. The National Rifle Association expressed praise for President Bush for signing on the Act.
USA has the highest gun ownership rate in the world - 88.8 per 100 residents. The second highest is Yemen at 54.8.
The Supreme Court struck down a law that banned the possession of handguns in the district of Columbia. In the District of Columbia v. Heller case, the SC held that the second amendment gave the Americans "an individual right" to possess firearms in federal enclaves for self-defense within the home.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif) claimed that he will introduce a bill seeking to limit legal immunity given to the gun distributors and manufacturers. Under the existing Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), legal suits filed for injuries or losses sustained during both criminal and noncriminal activities are prohibited.
Obama expressed anguish over repeated mass shootings in the US, saying that he was disappointed over lenient laws for gun possession in the country. Tighter gun laws in UK and Australia have helped curb such incidents. Second Amendment to the US Constitution which gives the right to citizens to bear arms, is seen as the major roadblock towards changing the law.