Wednesday, April 4, 2018
"I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of N.R.A.’s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts, and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns."Bush made it sound like the N.R.A was a good ol' association gone bad. But when we go back to the 60s and look at the way it fought gun regulation, it looks more like a bad ol' organization gone worse.
The King assassination spurred the legislation not just because it horrified the nation, but also because it prompted unrest across the country, including in Washington, where lawmakers watched rioters come within blocks of the White House as thousands of federal troops were mobilized.After Bobby Kennedy's assassination, Congress made a small change in the law, raising the age when people could buy handguns to 21.
Mr. Johnson wanted something far more sweeping. He proposed to treat guns like cars: They would be registered and their owners would be licensed.Johnson knew he had no more than two weeks to get the bill through Congress or "the N.R.A. will kill us." Which is exactly what happened.
[The N.R.A] flooded its members with sky-is-falling warnings about the government taking away gun rights, and urged them to hound lawmakers. In a letter to 900,000 N.R.A. members in June 1968, the organization’s president, Harold W. Glassen, said that the “right of sportsmen” to lawfully own and use firearms was “in the greatest jeopardy in the history of our country.”
[T]riumphant pro-gun forces announced it was now legislation they could “live with.”The times have changed, but the N.R.A.'s song remains the same, with a verse about jack-booted thugs thrown in.
To which Representative Charles S. Joelson, Democrat of New Jersey, responded: “I suggest that tens of thousands of Americans can die with it.”