No, Donald, It IS a Guns Situation

"It's as self-evident today as it was in the 1930s that letting private citizens possess weapons of mass destruction is a mammoth public policy problem affecting not only the victims," writes Lounsbury, "but an entire nation of people terrified that they might be next." (Image: Screenshot/The Untouchables)

No, Donald, It IS a Guns Situation

Alongside the rampant availability of assault-style weapons, it's clear that mass shootings have become more common, causing a higher death and injury toll

In the 1930s, Prohibition era gangsters including Al Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly, "Pretty Boy" Floyd, and John Dillinger were terrorizing the nation with machine-gun shootouts--with police and each other. Their weapon of choice was the Thompson machine gun, which created a lot of mayhem in a short period of time, firing .45-caliber cartridges at a rate of about eight rounds a second. Both the Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929 and the Kansas City Massacre of 1933 involved these guns.

In reaction, Congress passed the National Firearms Act of 1934, effectively ending machine gun sales in the United States.

Originally, the law was written at the behest of then-Attorney General Homer Cummings, who compared machine guns to weapons used by the Army. During Congressional testimony he said, "a machine gun, of course, ought never be in the hands of any private individual. There is not the slightest excuse for it." The final bill defined "machine gun" as "any weapon which shoots, or is designed to shoot, automatically or semi-automatically, more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger." Later the law was amended to include hand grenades, poison gas, and other "destructive devices."

The National Firearms Act sought to limit the amount of mayhem one gun or device could cause. At the time of its passage, the then-president of the National Rifle Association said "very little of practical value can be accomplished by federal legislation on the point," but the law has been a good example of gun control working: In the eighty-three years since the law was passed, less than half of 1% of gun crimes have occurred by machine guns, as defined under the National Firearms Act.

Fast forward to 1994. To get around the intent of the Act, gun manufacturers made weapons that could fire larger, faster, and increasingly deadlier bullets at speeds as high as five rounds a second. Congress recognized the problem and passed the Assault Weapons Ban, which despite numerous loopholes did prevent the selling of AR-15s and other machine-gun-like weapons.

Keep reading...Show less

Join the Movement: Become Part of the Solution Today

We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.

Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

© 2023 The Progressive