Racist origins of US gun control

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Sample Slave Codes, Black Codes, Economic-Based Gun Bans

Used To Prevent The Arming Of African Americans, 1640-1995

YEAR JURISDICTION STATUTE ____ ____________ _______

1640 Virginia Race-based total gun and self-defense ban.

                   "Prohibiting negroes, slave and free, from carrying
                   weapons including clubs." (The Los Angeles Times, "To
                   Fight Crime, Some Blacks Attack Gun Control," January
                   19, 1992)

1640 Virginia Race-based total gun ban. "That all such free

                   Mulattoes, Negroes and Indians...shall appear without
                   arms." [7 The Statues at Large; Being a Collection of
                   all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of
                   the Legislature, in the Year 1619, p. 95 (W.W. Henning
                   ed. 1823).] (GMU CR LJ, p. 67)

1712 Virginia Race-based total gun ban. "An Act for Preventing

                   Negroes Insurrections." (Henning, p. 481) (GMU CR LJ,
                   p. 70)

1712 South Carolina Race-based total gun ban. "An act for the better

                   ordering and governing of Negroes and slaves." [7
                   Statutes at Large of South Carolina, p. 353-54 (D.J.
                   McCord ed.  1836-1873).] (GMU CR LJ, p. 70)

1791 United States 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified.

                   Reads:  "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."

1792 United States Blacks excluded from the militia, i.e. law-abiding

                   males thus instilled with the right to own guns.
                   Uniform Militia Act of 1792 "called for the enrollment
                   of every free, able-bodied white male citizen between
                   the ages of eighteen and forty-five" to be in the
                   militia, and specified that every militia member was
                   to "provide himself with a musket or firelock, a
                   bayonet, and ammunition." [1 Stat. 271 (Georgetown Law
                   Journal, Vol. 80, No. 2, "The Second Amendment:
                   Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration," Robert
                   Cottrol and Raymond Diamond, 1991, p. 331)]

1806 Louisiana Complete gun and self-defense ban for slaves. Black

                   Code, ch. 33, Sec. 19, Laws of La. 150, 160 (1806)
                   provided that a slave was denied the use of firearms
                   and all other offensive weapons. (GLJ, p. 337)

1811 Louisiana Complete gun ban for slaves. Act of April 8, 1811, ch.

                   14, 1811 Laws of La. 50, 53-54, forbade sale or
                   delivery of firearms to slaves.  (Id.)

1819 South Carolina Master's permission required for gun possession by

                   slave. Act of Dec. 18, 1819, 1819 Acts of S.C. 28, 31,
                   prohibited slaves outside the company of whites or
                   without written permission from their master from
                   using or carrying firearms unless they were hunting or
                   guarding the master's plantation.  (Id.)

1825 Florida Slave and free black homes searched for guns for

                   confiscation. "An Act to Govern Patrols," 1825 Acts of
                   Fla. 52, 55 - Section 8 provided that white citizen
                   patrols "shall enter into all negro houses and
                   suspected places, and search for arms and other
                   offensive or improper weapons, and may lawfully seize
                   and take away all such arms, weapons, and
                   ammunition...."  Section 9 provided that a slave might
                   carry a firearm under this statute either by means of
                   the weekly renewable license or if "in the presence of
                   some white person." (Id.)

1828 Florida Free blacks permitted to carry guns if court approval.

                   Act of Nov. 17, 1828 Sec. 9, 1828 Fla. Laws 174, 177;
                   Act of Jan.  12, 1828, Sec. 9, 1827 Fla. Laws 97, 100
                   - Florida went back and forth on the question of
                   licenses for free blacks; twice in 1828, Florida
                   enacted provisions providing for free blacks to carry
                   and use firearms upon obtaining a license from a
                   justice of the peace. (Id.)

1831 Florida Race-based total gun ban. Act of Jan. 1831, 1831 Fla.

                   Laws 30 - Florida repealed all provision for firearm
                   licenses for free blacks. (Id. p. 337-38)

1831 Delaware Free blacks permitted to carry guns if court approval.

                   In the December 1831 legislative session, Delaware
                   required free blacks desiring to carry firearms to
                   obtain a license from a justice of the peace.
                   [(Herbert Aptheker, Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion, p.
                   74-75 (1966).] (GLJ, p. 338)

1831 Maryland Race-based total gun ban. In the December 1831

                   legislative session, Maryland entirely prohibited free
                   blacks from carrying arms. (Aptheker, p. 75) (Id., p.
                   338)

1831 Virginia Race-based total gun ban. In the December 1831

                   legislative session, Virginia entirely prohibited free
                   blacks from carrying arms. (Aptheker, p. 81) (Id., p.
                   338)

1833 Florida Slave and free black homes searched for guns for

                   confiscation. Act of Feb. 17, 1833, ch. 671, Sec. 15,
                   17, 1833 Fla. Laws 26, 29 authorized white citizen
                   patrols to seize arms found in the homes of slaves and
                   free blacks, and provided that blacks without a proper
                   explanation for the presence of the firearms be
                   summarily punished, without benefit of a judicial
                   tribunal. (Id. p. 338)

1833 Georgia Race-based total gun ban. Act of Dec. 23, 1833, Sec.

                   7, 1833 Ga. Laws 226, 228 declared that "it shall not
                   be lawful for any free person of colour in this state,
                   to own, use, or carry fire arms of any description
                   whatever." (Id.)

1840 Florida Complete gun ban for slaves. Act of Feb. 25, 1840, no.

                   20, Sec. 1, 1840 Acts of Fla. 22-23 made sale or
                   delivery of firearms to slaves forbidden. (Id. p. 337)

1840 Texas Complete gun ban for slaves. "An Act Concerning

                   Slaves," Sec. 6, 1840 Laws of Tex. 171, 172, ch.  58
                   of the Texas Acts of 1850 prohibited slaves from using
                   firearms altogether from 1842-1850. (Journal of
                   Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University,
                   Vol. 85, No. 3, "Gun Control and Economic
                   Discrimination:  The Melting-Point Case-In-Point," T.
                   Markus Funk, 1995, p. 797)

1844 North Carolina Race-based gun ban upheld because free blacks "not

                   citizens." In State v. Newsom, 27 N.C. 250 (1844), the
                   Supreme Court of North Carolina upheld a Slave Code
                   law prohibiting free blacks from carrying firearms on
                   the grounds that they were not citizens.  (GMU CR LJ,
                   p. 70)

1845 North Carolina Complete gun ban for slaves. Act of Jan. 1, 1845, ch.

                   87, Sec. 1, 2, 1845 Acts of N.C. 124 made sale or
                   delivery of firearms to slaves forbidden. (GLJ, p.
                   337)

1847 Florida Slave and free black homes searched for guns for

                   confiscation. Act of Jan. 6, 1847, ch. 87 Sec. 11,
                   1846 Fla. Laws 42, 44 provided that white citizen
                   patrols might search the homes of blacks, both free
                   and slave and confiscate arms held therein. (Id. p.
                   338)

1848 Georgia Race-based gun ban upheld because free blacks "not

                   citizens." In Cooper v. Savannah, 4 Ga. 68, 72 (1848),
                   the Georgia Supreme Court ruled "free persons of color
                   have never been recognized here as citizens; they are
                   not entitled to bear arms, vote for members of the
                   legislature, or to hold any civil office." (GMU CR LJ,
                   p. 70)

1852 Mississippi Race-based complete gun ban. Act of Mar. 15, 1852, ch.

                   206, 1852 Laws of Miss. 328 forbade ownership of
                   firearms by both free blacks and slaves.  (JCLC NWU,
                   p. 797)

1857 United States High Court upholds slavery since blacks "not

                   citizens." In Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19
                   How.) 393 (1857), Chief Justice Taney argued if
                   members of the African race were "citizens" they would
                   be exempt from the special "police regulations"
                   applicable to them.  "It would give to persons of the
                   negro race...full liberty of speech...to hold public
                   meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry
                   arms wherever they went." (Id. p. 417) U.S. Supreme
                   Court held that descendants of Africans who were
                   imported into this country and sold as slaves were not
                   included nor intended to be included under the word
                   "citizens" in the Constitution, whether emancipated or
                   not, and remained without rights or privileges except
                   such as those which the government might grant them,
                   thereby upholding slavery.  Also held that a slave did
                   not become free when taken into a free state; that
                   Congress cannot bar slavery in any territory; and that
                   blacks could not be citizens.

1860 Georgia Complete gun ban for slaves. Act of Dec. 19, 1860, no.

                   64, Sec. 1, 1860 Acts of Ga. 561 forbade sale or
                   delivery of firearms to slaves. (GLJ, p. 337)

1861 United States Civil War begins.

1861 Florida Slave and free black homes searched for guns for

                   confiscation. Act of Dec. 17, 1861, ch. 1291, Sec. 11,
                   1861 Fla. Laws 38, 40 provided once again that white
                   citizen patrols might search the homes of blacks, both
                   free and slave, and confiscate arms held therein. (Id.
                   p. 338)

1863 United States Emancipation Proclamation -- President Lincoln issued

                   proclamation "freeing all slaves in areas still in
                   rebellion."

1865 Mississippi Blacks require police approval to own guns, unless in

                   military. Mississippi Statute of 1865 prohibited
                   blacks, not in the military "and not licensed so to do
                   by the board of police of his or her county" from
                   keeping or carrying "fire-arms of any kind, or any
                   ammunition, dirk or bowie knife." [reprinted in 1
                   Documentary History of Reconstruction: Political,
                   Military, Social, Religious, Educational and
                   Industrial, 1865 to the Present Time, p. 291, (Walter
                   L. Fleming, ed., 1960.)] (GLJ, p.  344)

1865 Louisiana Blacks require police and employer approval to own

                   guns, unless serving in military. Louisiana Statute of 1865
                   prohibited blacks, not in the military service, from
                   "carrying fire-arms, or any kind of weapons...without
                   the special permission of his employers, approved and
                   indorsed by the nearest and most convenient chief of
                   patrol." (Fleming, p. 280)(GLJ, p. 344)

1865 United States Civil War ends May 26.

1865 United States Slavery abolished as of Dec. 18, 1865. 13th

                   Amendment abolishing slavery was ratified. Reads:
                   "Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
                   except as a punishment for crime whereof the party
                   shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the
                   United States, or in any place subject to their
                   jurisdiction.  Section 2.  Congress shall have power
                   to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

1866 Alabama Race-based total gun ban. Black Code of Alabama in

                   January 1866 prohibited blacks to own or carry
                   firearms or other deadly weapons and prohibited "any
                   person to sell, give, or lend fire-arms or ammunition
                   of any description whatever" to any black. [The
                   Reconstruction Amendments' Debates, p. 209, (Alfred
                   Avins ed., 1967)] (GLJ, p. 345)

1866 North Carolina Rights of blacks can be changed by legislature. North

                   Carolina Black Code, ch. 40, 1866 N.C. Sess. Laws 99
                   stated "All persons of color who are now inhabitants
                   of this state shall be entitled to the same
                   privileges, and are subject to the same burdens and
                   disabilities, as by the laws of the state were
                   conferred on, or were attached to, free persons of
                   color, prior to the ordinance of emancipation, except
                   as the same may be changed by law." (Avins, p. 291.)
                   (GLJ, p. 344)

1866 United States Civil Rights Act of 1866 enacted. CRA of 1866 did away

                   with badges of slavery embodied in the "Black Codes,"
                   including those provisions which "prohibit any negro
                   or mulatto from having fire-arms." [CONG. GLOBE, 39th
                   Congress, 1st Session, pt. 1, 474 (29 Jan. 1866)]
                   Senator William Saulsbury (D- Del) added "In my State
                   for many years...there has existed a law...which
                   declares that free negroes shall not have the
                   possession of firearms or ammunition.  This bill
                   proposes to take away from the States this police
                   power..." and thus voted against the bill.  CRA of
                   1866 was a precursor to today's 42 USC Sec.1982, a
                   portion of which still reads:  "All citizens of the
                   United States shall have the same right, in every
                   state and territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens
                   thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and
                   convey real and personal property."

1866 United States Proposed 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution debated.

                   Opponents of the 14th Amendment objected to its
                   adoption because they opposed federal enforcement of
                   the freedoms in the bill of rights.  Sen. Thomas A.
                   Hendricks (D-Ind.) said "if this amendment be
                   adopted we will then carry the title [of citizenship]
                   and enjoy its advantages in common with the negroes,
                   the coolies, and the Indians." [CONG. GLOBE, 39th
                   Congress, 1st Session, pt. 3, 2939 (4 June 1866)].
                   Sen. Reverdy Johnson, counsel for the slave owner
                   in Dred Scott, opposed the amendment because "it is
                   quite objectionable to provide that 'no State shall
                   make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
                   privileges and immunities of citizens of the United
                   States'." Thus, the 14th Amendment was viewed as
                   necessary to buttress the Civil Rights Act of 1866,
                   especially since the act "is pronounced void by the
                   jurists and courts of the South," e.g. Florida has as
                   "a misdemeanor for colored men to carry weapons...and
                   the punishment...is whipping..." [CONG GLOBE, 39th
                   Con., 1st Session, 504, pt. 4, 3210 (16 June 1866)].

1866 United States Klu Klux Klan formed. Purpose was to terrorize blacks

                   who voted; temporarily disbanded in 1871;
                   reestablished in 1915.  In debating what would become
                   42 USC Sec. 1983, today's federal civil rights
                   statute, Representative Butler explained "This
                   provision seemed to your committee to be necessary,
                   because they had observed that, before these midnight
                   marauders [the KKK] made attacks upon peaceful
                   citizens, there were very many instances in the South
                   where the sheriff of the county had preceded them and
                   taken away the arms of their victims.  This was
                   especially noticeable in Union County, where all the
                   negro population were disarmed by the sheriff only a
                   few months ago under the order of the judge...; and
                   then, the sheriff having disarmed the citizens, the
                   five hundred masked men rode at nights and murdered
                   and otherwise maltreated the ten persons who were in
                   jail in that county." [1464 H.R. REP. No. 37, 41st
                   Cong., 3rd Sess. p. 7-8 (20 Feb.  1871)]

1867 United States The Special Report of the Anti-Slavery Conference of

                   1867. Report noted with particular emphasis that under
                   the Black Codes, blacks were "forbidden to own or bear
                   firearms, and thus were rendered defenseless against
                   assaults." (Reprinted in H. Hyman, The Radical
                   Republicans and Reconstruction, p. 219, 1967.) (GMU CR
                   LJ, p. 71)

1868 United States 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution adopted,

                   conveying citizenship to blacks. Reads, in part:
                   "Section 1.  All persons born or naturalized in the
                   United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
                   thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the
                   State wherein they reside.  No state shall make or
                   enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or
                   immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall
                   any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or
                   property, without due process of law; nor deny to any
                   person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of
                   the laws.
                   "Section 5.  The Congress shall have power to enforce,
                   by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this
                   article."

1870 Tennessee First "Saturday Night Special" economic handgun ban

                   passed. In the first legislative session in which they
                   gained control, white supremacists passed "An Act to
                   Preserve the Peace and Prevent Homicide," which banned
                   the sale of all handguns except the expensive "Army
                   and Navy model handgun" which whites already owned or
                   could afford to buy, and blacks could not. ("Gun
                   Control:  White Man's Law," William R. Tonso, Reason,
                   December 1985) Upheld in Andrews v. State, 50 Tenn. (3
                   Heisk.) 165, 172 (1871) (GMU CR LJ, p. 74) "The cheap
                   revolvers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
                   were referred to as 'Suicide Specials,' the 'Saturday
                   Night Special' label not becoming widespread until
                   reformers and politicians took up the gun control
                   cause during the 1960s.  The source of this recent
                   concern about cheap revolvers, as their new label
                   suggest, has much in common with the concerns of the
                   gun-law initiators of the post-Civil War South.  As B.
                   Bruce-Briggs has written in the Public Interest, `It
                   is difficult to escape the conclusion that the
                   'Saturday Night Special' is emphasized because it is
                   cheap and being sold to a particular class of people.
                   The name is sufficient evidence -- the reference is to
                   'niggertown Saturday night.'" ("Gun Control:  White
                   Man's Law," William R. Tonso, Reason, December 1985)

1871 United States Anti-KKK Bill debated in response to race-motivated

                   violence in South. A report on violence in the South
                   resulted in an anti-KKK bill that stated "That whoever
                   shall, without due process of law, by violence,
                   intimidation, or threats, take away or deprive any
                   citizen of the United States of any arms or weapons he
                   may have in his house or possession for the defense of
                   his person, family, or property, shall be deemed
                   guilty of a larceny thereof, and be punished as
                   provided in this act for a felony." [1464 H.R. REP.
                   No. 37, 41st Cong., 3rd Sess. p. 7-8 (20 Feb. 1871)].
                   Since Congress doesn't have jurisdiction over simple
                   larceny, the language was removed from the anti-KKK
                   bill, but this section survives today as 42 USC Sec.
                   1983:  "That any person who, under color of any
                   law,...of any State, shall subject, or cause to be
                   subjected, any person... to the deprivation of any
                   rights, privileges, or immunities to which...he is
                   entitled under the Constitution...shall be liable...in
                   any action at law...for redress...".


1875 United States High Court rules has no power to stop KKK members from

                   disarming blacks. In United States v. Cruikshank, 92
                   U.S. at 548-59 (1875) A member of the KKK, Cruikshank
                   had been charged with violating the rights of two
                   black men to peaceably assemble and to bear arms.  The
                   U.S.  Supreme Court held that the federal government
                   had no power to protect citizens against private
                   action (not committed by federal or state government
                   authorities) that deprived them of their
                   constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment.  The
                   Court held that for protection against private
                   criminal action, individuals are required to look to
                   state governments. "The doctrine in Cruikshank, that
                   blacks would have to look to state government for
                   protection against criminal conspiracies gave the
                   green light to private forces, often with the
                   assistance of state and local governments, that sought
                   to subjugate the former slaves and their
                   descendants... With the protective arm of the federal
                   government withdrawn, protection of black lives and
                   property was left to largely hostile state
                   governments." (GLJ, p. 348.)

1879 Tennessee Second "Saturday Night Special" economic handgun ban

                   passed. Tennessee revamped its economic handgun ban
                   nine years later, passing "An Act to Prevent the Sale
                   of Pistols," which was upheld in State v. Burgoyne, 75
                   Tenn. 173, 174 (1881). (GMU CR LJ, p. 74)

1882 Arkansas Third "Saturday Night Special" economic handgun ban

                   passed. Arkansas followed Tennessee's lead by enacting
                   a virtually identical "Saturday Night Special" law
                   banning the sale of any pistols other than expensive
                   "army or navy" model revolvers, which most whites had
                   or could afford, thereby disarming blacks.  Statute
                   was upheld in Dabbs v. State, 39 Ark. 353 (1882) (GMU
                   CR LJ, p. 74)

1893 Alabama First all-gun economic ban passed. Alabama placed

                   "'extremely heavy business and/or transactional
                   taxes'" on the sale of handguns in an attempt "to put
                   handguns out of the reach of blacks and poor whites."
                   ("Gun Control:  White Man's Law," William R. Tonso,
                   Reason, December 1985)

1902 South Carolina First total civilian handgun ban. The state banned all

                   pistol sales except to sheriffs and their special
                   deputies, which included the KKK and company
                   strongmen.  (Kates, "Toward a History of Handgun
                   Prohibition in the United States" in Restricting
                   Handguns:  The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out, p. 15,
                   1979.) (GMU CR LJ, p. 76)

1906 Mississippi Race-based confiscation through record-keeping.

                   Mississippi enacted the first registration law for
                   retailers in 1906, requiring them to maintain records
                   of all pistol and pistol ammunition sales, and to make
                   such records available for inspection on demand.
                   (Kates, p. 14) (GMU CR LJ, p. 75)

1907 Texas Fourth "Saturday Night Special" economic handgun ban.

                   Placed "'extremely heavy business and/or transactional
                   taxes'" on the sale of handguns in an attempt "to put
                   handguns out of the reach of blacks and poor whites."
                   ("Gun Control:  White Man's Law," William R. Tonso,
                   Reason, December 1985)

1911 New York Police choose who can own guns lawfully. "Sullivan

                   Law" enacted, requiring police permission, via a
                   permit issued at their discretion, to own a handgun.
                   Unpopular minorities were and are routinely denied
                   permits. ("Gun Control:  White Man's Law," William R.
                   Tonso, Reason, December 1985) "(T)here are only about
                   3,000 permits in New York City, and 25,000 carry
                   permits.  If you're a street-corner grocer in
                   Manhattan, good luck getting a gun permit.  But among
                   those who have been able to wrangle a precious carry
                   permit out of the city's bureaucracy are Donald Trump,
                   Arthur Ochs Sulzburger, William Buckley, Jr., and
                   David, John, Lawrence and Winthrop Rockefeller.
                   Surprise." (Terrance Moran, "Racism and the Firearms
                   Firestorm," Legal Times)

1934 United States Gun Control Act of 1934 (National Firearms Act)

                   passed.

1941 Florida Judge admits gun law passed to disarm black laborers.

                   In concurring opinion narrowly construing a Florida
                   gun control law passed in 1893, Justice Buford stated
                   the 1893 law "was passed when there was a great influx
                   of negro laborers in this State....The same condition
                   existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act
                   was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro
                   laborers....The statute was never intended to be
                   applied to the white population and in practice has
                   never been so applied...".  Watson v. Stone, 148 Fla.
                   516, 524, 4 So.2d 700, 703 (1941) (GMU CR LJ, p. 69)

The Following Historical Events Are Included as Context for Passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968.


1954 - U.S. Supreme Court held racial segregation of schools violates 14th Amendment.

1955 - Alabama bus segregation ordinance held unconstitutional after boycott and NAACP protest.

1956 - Massive resistance to Supreme Court desegregation ruling called for by 101 Southern congressmen.

1957 - Congress approved first civil rights law for blacks. Governor ordered National Guard troops to prevent nine blacks from entering all-white high school in Little Rock; President Eisenhower had to send federal military troops to enforce court order that Guardsman be removed.

1960 - Sit-ins began February 1 when four black college students in Greensboro, N.C., refused to move from a lunch counter after being denied service; by 1961, more than 700,000 students, black and white, had participated in sit-ins.

1962 - 3,000 troops were required to quell riots after University of Mississippi accepted first black student.

1963 - 200,000 people participated in March on Washington, at which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.

1963 - President John F. Kennedy assassinated in November.

1964 - Omnibus civil rights bill barring discrimination in voting, jobs, discrimination, etc.; three civil rights workers reported missing in Mississippi, found buried two months later, 21 white men arrested, seven of whom an all-white federal court jury convicted of conspiracy only.

1965 - 34 dead in race riot in Watts area of Los Angeles.

1966 - First black U.S. senator in 85 years elected (Edward Brook, R-MA)

1967 - Race riots in Newark, N.J., kill 26, injure 1,500, with over 1,000 arrested. Race riots in Detroit killed at least 40, injured 2,000 and left 5,000 homeless; was quelled by 4,700 federal paratroopers and 8,000 National Guardsmen. Thurgood Marshall sworn in Oct. 2 as first black justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1968 - Martin Luther King assassinated in April. Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in June.

1968 United States Gun Control Act of 1968 passed. Avowed anti-gun

                   journalist Robert Sherrill frankly admitted that the
                   Gun Control Act of 1968 was "passed not to control
                   guns but to control Blacks." [R. Sherrill, The
                   Saturday Night Special, p. 280 (1972).] (GMU CR LJ, p.
                   80) "The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed not to
                   control guns but to control blacks, and inasmuch as a
                   majority of Congress did not want to do the former but
                   were ashamed to show that their goal was the latter,
                   the result was they did neither.  Indeed, this law,
                   the first gun-control law passed by Congress in thirty
                   years, was one of the grand jokes of our time.  First
                   of all, bear in mind that it was not passed in one
                   piece but was a combination of two laws.  The original
                   1968 Act was passed to control handguns after the Rev.
                   Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated with a
                   rifle.  Then it was repealed and repassed to include
                   the control of rifles and shotguns after the
                   assassination of Robert F. Kennedy with a
                   handgun.... The moralists of our federal legislature
                   as well as sentimental editorial writers insist that
                   the Act of 1968 was a kind of memorial to King and
                   Robert Kennedy.  If so, it was certainly a weird
                   memorial, as can be seen not merely by the
                   handgun/long-gun shellgame, but from the
                   inapplicability of the law to their deaths." (The
                   Saturday Night Special and Other Guns, Robert
                   Sherrill, p.  280, 1972)

1988 Maryland Fifth "Saturday Night Special" economic handgun ban

                   passes. Ban on "Saturday Night Specials," i.e.
                   inexpensive handguns, passes.

1988 Illinois Poor citizens singled out for gun ban in Illinois.

                   Starting in late 1988, the Chicago Housing Authority
                   (CHA) and the Chicago Police Dept. (CPD) enacted and
                   enforced an official policy, Operation Clean Sweep,
                   which applied to all housing units owned and operated
                   by the CHA.  The purpose was the confiscation of
                   firearms and illegal narcotics and consisted of
                   warrantless searches and of a visitor exclusion policy
                   severely limiting the right of CHA tenants to
                   associate in their residences with family members and
                   other guests, tenants had to sign in and out of the
                   building, producing to the police or CHA officials
                   photo Id.  Relatives, including children and
                   grandchildren, were not allowed to stay over, even on
                   holidays.  CHA tenants who objected or attempted to
                   interfere with these warrantless searches were
                   arrested.  The ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking
                   declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of the CHA
                   tenants against the enforcement of Operation Clean
                   Sweep.  The complaint was filed in the United Sates
                   District Court for the Northern District of Illinois,
                   Eastern Division, on Dec. 16, 1988, as Case No.
                   88C10566 and is styled as Rose Summeries, et al. v.
                   Chicago Housing Authority, et al.  A consent decree
                   was entered on Nov. 30, 1989 in which the CHA and
                   CPD agreed to abide by certain standards and in which
                   the scope and purposes of such "emergency housing
                   inspections" were limited.  (GMU, p. 98)

1990 Virginia Poor citizens singled out for gun ban in Virginia.

                   U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
                   Virginia upheld a ban imposed by the Richmond Housing
                   Authority on the possession of all firearms, whether
                   operable or not, in public housing projects.  The
                   Richmond Tenants Organization had challenged the ban,
                   arguing that such requirement had made the city's
                   14,000 public housing residents second-class citizens.
                   [Richmond Tenants Org. v. Richmond Dev. & Hous. Auth.,
                   No. C.A. 3:90CV00576 (E.D.Va. Dec. 3, 1990).] (GMU,
                   p. 97)

1994 United States President seeks to single out all poor citizens

                   residing in federal housing for gun ban. The Clinton
                   Administration introduced H.R. 3838 in 1994 to ban
                   guns in federal public housing, but the House Banking
                   Committee rejected it.  Similar legislation was filed
                   in 1994 in the Oregon and Washington state
                   legislatures.

1995 Maine Poor citizens singled out for gun ban in Maine.

                   Portland, ME, gun ban in public housing struck down on
                   April 5, 1995.
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