1969: February: The Battle For Gun Rights

Congress went back into session and despite stinging losses in both the House and the Senate, the gun control activists were back in full force. Both Tom Dodd and Joe Tydings were still in the Senate, while New York’s Manny Celler and others dropped almost all other House business to pursue gun registration and gun owner licensing; along with severe restrictions of firearms.

Prominent among a dozen anti-gun January filings were H.R. 52, a gun registration and owner licensing bill by New York Representative William F. Ryan; as well as a lengthy statement by Maryland Senator Joe Tyding’s announcing his fight to impose registration and owner licensing, as part of a bill to regulate crime, births, and standards for granting bail.

Washington’s Representative Al Ulllman introduced the first bill to exempt ammunition from the provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Something that would take several more years to bring to an end.

Both county and city administrations were also busy trying to enact gun controls. Cuyahoga County, Ohio; and Montgomery County, Maryland were among the counties; while Detroit and Los Angeles were the most important of the cities considering restrictive gun laws.

Since most of these bills were introduced very early in the session, the fireworks took a bit to start. I will discuss March the next time I get a few minutes.

The IRS ruled that states that wished to enable gun sales to residents of adjacent states; for example Virginia and North Carolina, would have to pass enabling legislation. And then hope adjacent states would follow suit. That ruling was supported by New York Representative Manny Celler, whose H.R. 2168 also called for full registration and licensing.

On the State fronts, bills in the Illinois legislature recognized the FOID law’s failure to control crime. Illinois H.B. 8 would have denied probation to anyone convicted of a gun related crime; while H.B. 18 would have repealed the failed FOID law entirely.

Maryland legislators were handed H.B. 64 to consider, requiring the registration of all handguns by July 1, 1969; require anyone entering the state with a handgun to notify the State Police; and establish waiting periods of up to 30 days on gun purchases.

Since most of these bills were introduced very early in the session, the fireworks took a bit to start. I will discuss March the next time I get a few minutes.

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