The history of gun laws in the United States is a long and complex, spanning over hundreds of hears. We offer a brief overview of the major events and legislative milestones in the history of gun laws in the United States:
firearm laws in the United States are a complex and constantly evolving area of law, and it is important for individuals to stay up to date on the laws in their state and at the federal level in order to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.
History of 2A Laws in the USA
Early Years: There were few restrictions on gun ownership in the beginning of the US. The Second Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1791, protected the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
- Second Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791)
- Militia Acts of 1792 (provided for the organization of the state militias)
- Militia Act of 1862 (African-Americans participate as soldiers for first time)
Post-Civil War Era: After the Civil War, some states enacted laws to prohibit ownership of firearms by African Americans and other minority groups.
- Freedmen’s Bureau Act 1865
- U.S. v. Cruikshank 1876
- Presser v State of Illinois 1886
- Militia Act 1903 (Dick Act)
- National Defense Act 1916
- Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET) 1919
- Mailing of Firearms Act of 1927
National Firearms Act (NFA) In reaction to organized crime, the federal government regulated the manufacture and sale of certain types of firearms, such as machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, and silencers.
- National Firearms Act (NFA) Gun Control Act of 1934
- Federal Firearms Act (FFA) of 1938
- United States v. Miller 1939
Gun Control Act (GCA) established a system for licensing firearm dealers and prohibited certain people, (under 18, convicted felons, etc) from owning guns.
- Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968
- Gun Control Act of 1968
- Privacy Act of 1974
- Arms Export Control Act of 1976
- Armed Career Criminal Act 1984
- Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986
- Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act 1986
- Undetectable Firearms Act (1988)
- Semiautomatic Rifle Import Ban (1989)
- Gun-Free School Zones Act (1990)
- Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
- Brady Bill (1993) expired in 1998
- Printz v. United States 1994
Federal Assault Weapons Ban prohibited the manufacture, sale, and possession of certain types of firearms, including some semi-automatic rifles and pistols. The ban expired in 2004 and was not found to be effective, so was not renewed.
- Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) (1994) expired in 2004
- Dickey Amendment 1996
- Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban – Lautenberg Amendment 1996
- 2003 Tiahrt Amendment
- Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) 2005
- 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller
- 2009 Montana Firearms Freedom Act
Firearm laws in the United States vary widely by state and locality, with some areas having strict regulations on gun ownership and others having less restrictions. The debate over gun control remains a highly controversial and politically charged issue in the United States.
- 1903 – War Department Appropriations Act
- 1976 – International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
- National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996