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August 8, 2016


  • Americans own about 150 million handguns, accounting for 46 percent of firearms acquired since 1985 and about 40 percent of privately owned guns in the United States. (ATF)

  • 6-7 million new handguns are manufactured in the U.S. or imported annually. (ATF)

  • Two-thirds of gun owners own at least one handgun. (Philip Cook, University of Chicago,  and Jens Ludwig, Duke University, Police Foundation)

  • From 1991, when the nation’s violent crime rate hit an all-time high, through 2014, Americans acquired 73 million handguns, the nation’s murder rate dropped by more than half, to an all-time low, and the total violent crime rate dropped by more than half, to a 44-year low. (ATF; FBI; and Claude Fischer, University of California, Berkeley)

  • The landmark survey of defensive gun use found that in 1993, handguns were used for protection against criminals nearly two million times, up to five times more often than to commit crimes. (Gary Kleck, Florida State University)

  • People who use guns to defend themselves are less likely to be attacked or injured than people who use other methods of protection or do not defend themselves at all. (Kleck analysis of National Crime Victimization Surveys)

  • The laws of all 50 states recognize the right to use armed force for self-defense. The U.S. Constitution and 44 state constitutions protect the right to use arms for self-defense.

  • 42 states, accounting for 74 percent of the U.S. population, have Right-to-Carry laws. Thirteen million Americans have carry permits. (Crime Prevention Research Center)

  • Of NRA’s 120,000 Certified Firearm Instructors, 79,000 are certified to teach our basic handgun course.

  • Washington, D.C., banned handguns in 1976 and within 15 years its murder rate tripled. In 15 of the 16 years 1988-2003, D.C. had the highest murder rate among major U.S. cities. (FBI) Chicago banned handguns in 1982 and in a decade handgun murders more than doubled. (Chicago Homicide Dataset)

Overview of handgun restriction efforts in the United States

Ironically, though the Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right to keep and bear arms from infringement by the federal government, the states were the first to impose gun control, particularly handgun control.

In the early and mid-1800s, a number of states prohibited the carrying, or the concealed carrying of pistols and various edged weapons. Contrary to gun control supporters’ claim that courts never considered the Second Amendment to protect an individual right until the Supreme Court did so in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008),[1] courts clearly did so in cases challenging some of these early laws, in advance of the Supreme Court doing so in the late 1800s in other cases.[2]

In 1822, in Bliss v. Commonwealth, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that a law prohibiting the concealed carrying of a pocket pistol or various edged weapons ran afoul of the state’s constitutional provision, “the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the state, shall not be questioned.” The state argued that the law merely regulated, rather than imposed a blanket restriction upon, the right. However, the court said, “to be in conflict with the constitution, it is not essential that the act should contain a prohibition against bearing arms in every possible form; it is the right to bear arms in defence of the citizens and the state, that is secured by the constitution, and whatever restrains the full and complete exercise of that right, though not an entire destruction of it, is forbidden by the explicit language of the constitution.”

In 1840, in State v. Reid, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that that state’s constitutional provision, “Every citizen has a right to bear arms, in defence of himself and the State,” was not violated by a state law prohibiting the concealed carrying of pistols and various edged weapons. The court allowed the restriction on concealed carrying, but said, “A statute which, under the pretense of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right, or which requires arms to be borne as to render them wholly useless for the purpose of defence, would be clearly unconstitutional.”

In 1846, in Nunn v. State, the Georgia Supreme Court overruled that state’s law prohibiting the carrying of most pistols and various edged weapons. The court said, “The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.” (Emphases in the original.)

In 1911, New York passed the Sullivan Law, which to this day requires a person to obtain a license, issued at the discretion of police officials, to possess a handgun. The law was aimed at preventing handgun ownership by Italians and Irish immigrants of the period, then considered untrustworthy by New York legislators with different bloodlines.

The National Firearms Act (1934), as originally proposed, would have required registration of handguns. As passed, the law imposed that requirement on only fully-automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and “silencers.” While consideration had been given to banning fully-automatic firearms altogether, President Roosevelt’s Justice Department believed a ban would have violated the Second Amendment.

In 1968, Congress passed the Gun Control Act, ostensibly in reaction to the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. But even supporters of “gun control” have recognized another purpose to the law. Robert Sherrill noted, “The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed not to control guns but to control blacks . . . . Inasmuch as the legislation finally passed in 1968 had nothing to do with the guns used in the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy, it seems reasonable to assume that the law was directed at that other threat of the 1960s, more omnipresent than the political assassin—namely, the black rioter . . . . With the horrendous rioting of 1967 and 1968, Congress again was panicked toward passing some law that would shut off weapons access to blacks.”[3]

Of particular concern to the Democrat-controlled Congress were compact, small-caliber handguns, which gun control supporters referred to with the racist term, “Saturday Night Specials.” As one commentator noted, “It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the ‘Saturday night special’ is emphasized because it is cheap and is being sold to a particular class of people. The name is sufficient evidence—the reference is to ‘n-----town Saturday Night.’”[4]

The Gun Control Act was not the first attempt to prevent Blacks from having guns in this part of the world. The French Black Code (1751) required Louisiana colonists to stop and, “if necessary,” beat “any black carrying any potential weapon.” After Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831, the Virginia legislature made it illegal for free blacks “to keep or carry any firelock of any kind, any military weapon, or any powder or lead.” In 1834, Tennessee revised Article XI, Section 26 of its constitution to read, “That the free white men of this State have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defense,” inserting the words “free white men” to replace “freemen,” whose rights were protected when the constitution was ratified in 1796.[5]

In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford, “It (citizenship) would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased . . . and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”[6] (Emphasis added.)

To prevent Blacks from arming themselves, southern states enacted the Black Codes, which “fixed the black population in serfdom, denying all political rights, excluding them from virtually any chance at economic or social advancement -- and, of course, forbidding them to own arms.”[7]

After ratification of the 14th Amendment (1868) and enactment of the Civil Rights Act (1875), several states responded by passing laws which on their face were race-neutral, but which in effect were not. Among these laws, the forerunners of so-called “Saturday Night Special” legislation, was Tennessee’s “Army and Navy” law (1879), which prohibited the sale of any “belt or pocket pistols, or revolvers, or any other kind of pistols, except army or navy pistol” models, among the most expensive, and largest, handguns of the day. The law thus prohibited small two-shot derringers and low-caliber rimfire revolvers, the handguns that most Blacks could afford.

Conspicuously, the race-oriented history of many federal and state gun control laws has escaped the attention of many in the civil rights community. Legal scholars Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. Diamond, both African-American, have written, “The history of blacks, firearms regulations, and the right to bear arms should cause us to ask new questions regarding the Second Amendment. . . . Perhaps a re-examination of this history can lead us to a modern realization of what the framers of the Second Amendment understood: that it is unwise to place the means of protection totally in the hands of the state, and that self-defense is also a civil right.[8]

Anti-gun groups’ handgun ban strategy today—During the 1970s and early 1980s, anti-gun groups in the U.S. sought a ban on handguns or, as that goal seemed out of reach, compact handguns. In the mid-1970s, the Brady Campaign, then called the National Coalition to Control Handguns, called for “A ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of all handguns and handgun ammunition [and] a buy-back program whereby gun owners would be reimbursed for turning their guns over to the government.”[9] Soon, the group outlined its strategy to achieve the ban: “[O]ne step at a time. . . . Our ultimate goal—total control of handguns in the United States—is going to take time. . . . The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition...totally illegal.”[10] In 1981, the leader of the group, without declaring his ultimate purpose, wrote, “We should face the simple fact that licensing and registration [of gun owners and guns] are, or should be, duties of citizenship.”[11]

In 1988, the New Right Watch (now known as the Violence Policy Center, or VPC), led by a former staffer of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns, argued that gun control groups should change their strategy. It said, to “strengthen the handgun restriction lobby,” gun control supporters should focus not on handguns, but on “assault weapons.” It continued, “It will be a new topic in what has become to the press and public an ‘old’ debate. . . . [T]he issue of handgun restriction consistently remains a non-issue with the vast majority of legislators, the press, and public. . . . Assault weapons . . . are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. . . . . Efforts to restrict assault weapons are more likely to succeed than those to restrict handguns.” [12]

As expected, following imposition of the federal “assault weapons ban” in 1994, gun control supporters refocused their efforts on handguns. In the 104th Congress, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced her “Junk Gun Violence Protection Act,” modified and reintroduced in the 105th Congress as the “American Handgun Standards Act,” and again introduced in the 106th Congress. The bills proposed to prohibit the manufacture, in the U.S., of any handgun that the ATF considered ineligible for importation under 18 U.S.C. 925(d)(3). By regulations adopted by the ATF, a handgun is ineligible for importation if it fails requirements related to length, weight, caliber and other features, called the Handgun Factoring Criteria. 

Sen. Boxer claimed her bill would prohibit “Junk Guns—also called Saturday Night Specials,” but it would have prohibited many expensive handguns on the basis of their size. Other bills or laws have defined “Saturday Night Specials” on the basis of the melting point of the metals used in a handgun’s construction, or on the basis of a variety of a handgun’s attributes. During the late 1990s, several California municipalities defied the state’s local ordinance preemption law by imposing their own “Saturday Night Special” laws. Concurrently, anti-gun groups and politicians launched campaigns for mandatory inclusion of trigger locks with all handguns sold, or for a ban on the sale of any handgun not possessing an integral “personalized” safety mechanism, and for lawsuits against manufacturers of handguns, alleging them liable for injuries inflicted by criminals using handguns.

By the early 1990s, the Brady Campaign claimed to no longer be interested in a handgun ban,[13] but its efforts have remained consistent with the three-part handgun ban strategy the group laid out in the 1970s. In the 1980s, when the group was known Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), it filed a brief in support of Morton Grove, Illinois,’ handgun ban. Following passage of the Brady bill in 1993, which initially imposed a background check on handgun purchasers in states not having a comparable requirement of their own (allowing law enforcement agencies a maximum of five days to complete a check), HCI referred to the measure as “the cornerstone of our national gun policy” and announced a campaign for gun registration and a host of other onerous measures later incorporated into a so-called “Brady II” bill, introduced by the sponsor of the 1993 “Brady bill,” then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

After Instant Check replaced the Brady Act’s waiting period restriction on Nov. 30, 1998, HCI, which had previously called for a waiting period on retail sales of handguns, began calling for a waiting period on all firearm transfers, retail and private, handguns and long guns—a measure that could be enforced only if a universal gun registration law were also imposed. HCI’s talking point was, and remains, “[w]e need to close the gun show loophole.”[14] There is no gun show “loophole,” of course, since laws regulating sales of firearms apply at gun shows just as they apply anywhere else, and federal law expressly permits people to sell guns from their personal collections without having to obtain a federal firearm dealer’s license, which today costs $200. The Brady Campaign also filed a brief in Heller, in support of D.C.’s handgun ban.

Other activists make no attempt to conceal their wish that handguns be banned. On Jan. 20, 1999, VPC advocated subjecting firearms to consumer product regulations to be enforced by ATF and said, “we believe that ultimately handguns would be phased out through such an agency.”[15] The late Marvin Wolfgang, a prominent anti-gun criminologist, wrote in 1995 that, if possible, he would “eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police.”[16] U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, while expressing support for legislation to impose a mandatory waiting period on all retail and private firearm transfers, said he favored an outright ban on handguns, but doubts that Americans would support such a measure.[17] In 1993, the founder of the now-defunct HELP (Handgun Epidemic Lowering Plan) Network, a group composed largely of anti-gun activists in the public health field, stated that the group’s purpose was to “work toward changing society’s attitude toward guns so that it becomes socially unacceptable for private citizens to have handguns.”[18] Apparently, the group failed. Gallup reports that support for banning handguns has dropped from 60 percent in 1959 to 27 percent in 2011.[19]

Handgun Bans: A History of Failure

Washington, D.C.—During the 1960s, D.C. began requiring police approval to buy a handgun and imposed handgun registration. A law prohibiting the possession of handguns not previously registered with the police took effect in Feb. 1977. Even handguns that remained legal to possess could not realistically be legally used for protection, even at home, since it was illegal to possess a loaded firearm at home. This, in a city where “official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection . . . (there is) no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”[20] Attorney Stephen Halbrook, who has successfully argued firearm law issues before the Supreme Court, described D.C. gun laws as a “badge of slavery” that treats District residents as “second class citizens” in violation of the 14th Amendment and civil rights legislation adopted by Congress since the Civil War.[21]

From 1974-1976, before the ban took effect, D.C.’s murder rate dropped 30%. Anti-gun activists claimed that murders declined after the ban,[22] but while the annual number of murders decreased, the city’s per capita murder rate increased due to a decrease in D.C.’s population. The rate increased gradually after the ban, dropped sharply after enactment in 1982 of an NRA-backed mandatory penalty for using a gun during a violent crime, rose as the penalty fell into disuse, then rose sharply with the advent of “crack” cocaine gangs. Overall, between 1976 and 1991, D.C.’s homicide rate tripled. In 1993, 1994 and 1995, all but four of the city’s 1,027 firearm-related murders were committed with handguns.[23] D.C.’s murder rate began decreasing in the 1990s, when crime began decreasing nationally. The city’s handgun ban and its ban on having any firearm loaded at home were struck down by the Supreme Court in Heller.

Chicago—Chicago imposed a handgun registration requirement in 1968, with no effect on the city’s rising handgun homicide numbers.[24] After peaking in 1974, Chicago homicides declined until the 1980s. In April 1982, a law prohibiting possession of handguns not previously registered with the police was imposed. Annual handgun homicide numbers and percentages of total homicides fluctuated, then rose sharply.


       Murders with handguns

Percent murders with handguns





































Morton Grove, Illinois—On June 8, 1981, despite a history of low crime rates, Morton Grove banned the private possession of handguns, effective February 1, 1982. On December 29, 1981, the ban was upheld in U.S. District Court, which said that it did not violate the Illinois or U.S. constitutions, because it did not outlaw all firearms.[25] The judge cited Presser v. Illinois (1886), in which the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment prohibits infringements on the right to arms by Congress, not by the states. On January 29, 1982, the ban was upheld by the judge of the Illinois Circuit Court of Appeals.[26] Both decisions were appealed. On December 6, 1982, the ban was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a 2-1 decision.[27] The court said, “Morton Grove may exercise its police power to prohibit handguns even though this prohibition interferes with an individual’s liberty or property,” and that such a measure does not violate the Illinois or U.S. Constitutions because it does not prohibit all firearms. The dissenting judge called the ruling “a new low for the fundamental principle that ‘a man’s home is his castle.’” The court also held that the Second Amendment restricts only Congress from infringing the right to arms. The court interpreted the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Miller (1939)[28] as holding that the right to arms applies “only to those arms which are necessary to maintain a well regulated militia,” and it incorrectly assumed that such arms did not include handguns and said, “[t]he right to keep and bear handguns is not guaranteed by the second amendment.”[29]

On May 31, 1983, NRA filed a petition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit’s ruling, and in July 1983, in our membership magazine, The American Rifleman, said that a ruling from the high court “ultimately could lead to a definitive federal ruling on the right keep and bear arms.” (The Court declined to hear the case.[30])

On October 19, 1984, in a 4-to-3 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld Morton Grove’s ban as within its “police powers.”[31] Prior to the ban, there were an estimated 3,000 privately owned handguns in Morton Grove. Compliance with the law was slight, with fewer than 20 handguns turned in or seized by police after the law took effect. Survey research by Professor Paul Lavrakas of Northwestern University indicated that 80% or more of Morton Grove households (2,400+) still had handguns two years after the law’s enactment. Most people who turned in handguns were much older than the 15- to 30-year-old age group disproportionately responsible for firearm-related crime. The average person turning in a handgun was 63 years old; the mean age, 67. One handgun came from someone under age 40, two from people under age 50; three from people 70 years old or older. Crime rates remained low after the ban, except for a short-term increase in burglary. Morton Grove rescinded its ban following the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller.

California’s Proposition 15—On November 2, 1982, by 63%-37%, Californians defeated a handgun ban initiative that anti-gun groups and their allies in the press were sure would be overwhelmingly approved. An estimated 250,000 Californians registered to vote solely because of the handgun issue; 54 of California’s 58 sheriffs opposed the proposal. The Washington Post reported that the Director of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns called the vote “a temporary glitch.” On May 6, 1983, President Ronald Reagan, a two-term California governor, commended NRA for helping to defeat the ban, saying, “You shocked California last November when you mobilized to help send Proposition 15 down to defeat. You pointed out that police would be so busy arresting handgun owners, they would be unable to protect the people against criminals. It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun control laws. I happen to know this from personal experience.”

Oak Park, Illinois—Despite stable or declining violent crime and burglary trends in other Chicago suburbs, rates of those crimes increased sharply in Oak Park between 1977 (when the village banned handgun sales) and 1984. In 1984, Oak Park banned private possession of handguns altogether, prompting a citizens’ movement to repeal the ordinance. When challenged by a reporter about Oak Park’s increase in burglaries after banning possession of handguns, the village’s president could respond with only a personal attack, accusing the journalist of trying to “insist on the gun nut (the mayor of Kennesaw, Ga., which responded to Oak Park’s ban by singing an ordinance requiring handgun ownership his town) being right.” Oak Park’s ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago (2010).[32]

Evanston, Illinois—Evanston banned handguns in 1982. In 1983, Evanston’s robbery rate rose 8%, while nationwide suburban areas experienced a 20% decline, and the U.S. rate declined 16%. Evanston rescinded its ban following the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller.

Wisconsin—Despite media predictions of a landslide victory by anti-gun activists, voters in Madison rejected a non-binding handgun ban referendum in April 1993, by 51%-49%. On November 8, 1994, Milwaukee voters rejected a binding handgun ban proposal by 67%-33%, and Kenosha voters defeated one 73%-27%. A non-binding handgun ban referendum in Shorewood passed by 576 votes. In 1998, Wisconsin voters approved, by a margin of 3-to-1, an amendment to their state constitution protecting the right to arms “for security, defense,” and other purposes.



[1] See the decision.
[2] In U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), the Court recognized that the right to arms is a fundamental, individual right, saying, “The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers the national government.” In Presser v. Illinois (1886), the Court upheld a law prohibiting private groups of people marching armed in a parade without license of the governor. However, the Court observed, “It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the States, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the States cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government.” In Miller v. Texas (1896) the Court ruled, as it had in Cruikshank and Presser, that the Second Amendment restricts infringement of the right to arms by Congress, but not by the states. In each of these cases, if the Court had believed that the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right, but instead protected a “right” of a state to maintain a militia or that of a person to bear arms while on duty in a state militia, it would have rejected the pleadings of the plaintiffs in Cruikshank, and the defendants in Presser and Miller, as lacking standing before the Court on the grounds that they were neither states nor members of a militia. See Dave Kopel, The Second Amendment Before the Supreme Court, Independence Institute, 2014.
[3] Robert Sherrill, The Saturday Night Special, New York: Charterhouse, 1973, pp. 280-283.
[4] B. Bruce-Briggs “The Great American Gun War,” The Public Interest, Fall 1976, p. 50.
[5] Clayton E. Cramer, “The Racist Roots of Gun Control,” Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, Winter 1995.
[6] 19 How. 393, 1857.
[7] Don B. Kates, Jr., “Toward a History of Handgun Prohibition in the United States,” Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out, Don B. Kates, Jr., Ed., North River Press, Inc, 1979.
[8] “The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration,” Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment, ed., Robert J. Cottrol, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Law, 1994, N.Y.: Garland Publishing, Inc., p. 427.
[9] Pete Shields, “In His Own Words,” People Weekly, October 20, 1975.
[10] Shields, quoted in Richard Harris, “A Reporter at Large,” The New Yorker, July 26, 1976.
[11] Nelson “Pete” Shields, Guns Don’t Die, People Do, p. 126.
[12] New Right Watch and the Educational Fund to End Handgun Violence, “Assault Weapons in America,” Conclusions, pp. 26-27.
[13] “Tom Morgenthau, “Why Not Real Gun Control?,” Newsweek, October 11, 1993, p. 34.
[14] HCI Chair, Sarah Brady, quoted by the Associated Press, January 4, 1999.
[15] Tom Diaz, on “Fresh Air,” National Public Radio.
[16] Wolfgang, “A Tribute to a View That I Have Opposed,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995, pp. 188-192.
[17] Ariel Sabar, “Kennedy joins effort to pass gun-control measures,” The Providence Journal, January 4, 1999.
[18] HELP founder Dr. Katherine K. Christoffel, August 28, 1993, letter to Dr. Edgar Suter, of Doctors for Integrity in Research and Public Policy.
[19] A 1998 national survey of voters by Lawrence Research found that by an 8:1 margin, Americans believe you have the right to use a handgun to defend yourself in your own home. By a 3:1 margin, they believe that to fight crime, getting tough with criminals is more effective than banning guns. A U.S. News & World Report poll published 5/22/95, found that 75% of Americans believe “the Constitution guarantees you the right to own a gun;” 18% disagreed. On 1/24/94, NBC TV News asked viewers “Should handguns be banned?” By 80%-20%, respondents said “no.” A June 1993 Luntz-Weber Strategic Services poll found that only 21% believe “all guns should be outlawed,” only 9% believe restricting firearms is “the single most important thing that can be done to reduce violent crime,” and only 8% believe guns are “the most important cause of violent crime.” The public favored mandatory prison for criminals, over “gun control,” 70%-25%. Polls claiming that the public supports additional restrictions on firearms generally have been commissioned by anti-gun groups or conducted by firms with histories of support for their activities, and often occur after a major media blitz castigating firearms.
[20] Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d1 1, D.C. App. 1981.
[21] Halbrook, “Second-Class Citizenship and the Second Amendment in the District of Columbia,” George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, Summer 1995.
[22] Colin Loftin, et al., “Effects of Restrictive Licensing of Handguns on Homicide and Suicide in the District of Columbia,” New England Journal of Medicine, 325:1615-1620, 1991.
[23]  FBI and D.C. police.
[24] Chicago Homicide Dataset.
[25] Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove, 532 F. Supp. 1169, N.D. Ill.
[26] Kalodimos v. Village of Morton Grove, 113 Ill. App.3d 488.
[27] Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove, 695 F.2d 261.
[28] The question in Miller was whether the National Firearms Act (1934) violated the Second Amendment by restricting possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and whether such a firearm had been proven suitable for militia use and was thus protected by the amendment. No evidence on the question had been recorded in the lower court, thus the high court ruled, “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession of or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.” The Court ignored the use of short-barreled shotguns in trench warfare during WWI. On a related point, contrary to gun control supporters’ claims, semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 not are not used by the military “military.” However, they undeniably have a relationship to the efficiency of the well regulated militia (the armed citizenry), and their use could certainly “contribute to the common defense.”
[29] The court should have taken notice of the common use of handguns by U.S. military and naval personnel throughout our history. “Pistols were used throughout the Revolutionary War, and not just by officers. ‘(T)he pistol was the principal firearm of a small yet important body of enlisted men.’ The cavalry, the navy, and selected infantry regiments all used pistols. The first federal militia statute (1 Stat. 271, 272, 1792) mentioned pistols, and colonial laws more generally also considered pistols legitimate arms.” (Robert Dowlut, “The Right to Arms: Does the Constitution or the Predilection of Judges Reign?,” Oklahoma Law Review, 36, 1983, p. 97.) Colt Models 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, and 1861 Navy revolvers and many similar handguns were used extensively during the Civil War, on both sides. The Model 1911 Colt .45 pistol was widely used by our troops during WWI (and later, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War). Though after the Court’s decision in the Miller case, it is worth noting that during WWII the militia were called out to defend the home front with privately owned weapons, and a manual distributed by the War Department directed citizens to keep weapons “easily portable and easily concealed. First among these is the pistol.” (Robert Dowlut and Janet A. Knoop, “State Constitutions and The Right To Keep and Bear Arms,” Oklahoma City University Law Review, 1982, pp. 197-198.)
[30] Dishonestly, anti-gun groups continued to falsely claim that NRA was afraid to press for the Supreme Court to rule in a Second Amendment case. However, that claim came to an abrupt halt after the Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. Thereafter, gun control supporters conceived a brand new, false claim, that in declaring the amendment to protect an individual right, Heller reversed previous Supreme Court rulings, discussed in note 5, above. Heller was novel only in that it was the first case in U.S. history in which the Court was asked to rule on specifically whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.
[31] Kalodimos v. Village of Morton Grove, 470 N.E.2d 266, Ill. Article I, §22, of the Illinois Constitution reads: “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
[32] See the decision


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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Delaware: Senate Passes Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill

Yesterday, the Senate passed a substitute version of Senate Bill 2, to impose a Maryland-style “handgun qualified purchase ...

Delaware: Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill Scheduled for Senate Floor

Monday, May 1, 2023

Delaware: Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill Scheduled for Senate Floor

Tomorrow, Senate Bill 2, to impose a Maryland-style “handgun qualified purchase card” and a handgun transfer registry, will ...

Delaware: Senate Judiciary Passes Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Delaware: Senate Judiciary Passes Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably passed Senate Bill 2, to impose a Maryland-style “handgun qualified purchase ...

Delaware: Senate Judiciary to Hear Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Delaware: Senate Judiciary to Hear Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill

Tomorrow, starting at 1:00PM, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear Senate Bill 2, to impose a Maryland-style “handgun qualified ...

Delaware: Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill Being Introduced

Monday, April 17, 2023

Delaware: Maryland-Style Handgun Licensing Bill Being Introduced

Senator Elizabeth Lockman and Representative Melissa Minor-Brown are circulating legislation to impose a Maryland-style “handgun qualified purchase card” ...

North Carolina: Right-to-Carry Expansion and Permit-to-Purchase Repeal VETO Override Advances to the House

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

North Carolina: Right-to-Carry Expansion and Permit-to-Purchase Repeal VETO Override Advances to the House

Today, March 28, the Senate voted 30-19 to override Governor Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 41, a bill that recognizes ...

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.