Study Guide

Right to Bear Arms - Terms

Advertisement - Guide continues below


Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

Passed in 1993, this law mandated a five-day waiting period and background check for all handgun purchases. The waiting period provision expired in 1998, but it was replaced by a national computerized background checking system.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

In 1972, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service was reorganized and renamed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and charged with enforcing the 1968 Gun Control Act. In 2002, the Bureau was reorganized once again and renamed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Cincinnati Revolt

In 1977 Harlon Carter and his followers gained control of the National Rifle Association at its annual meeting in Cincinnati. Carter pledged to reverse the more flexible positions toward gun regulation maintained by recent leadership and pursue a more uncompromising defense of an unqualified individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment.

District of Columbia v. Heller

In this 2008 case the United States Supreme ruled that the Second Amendment does protect an individual right to own and use guns for lawful purposes, including self-defense. As part of this decision the Court struck down parts of a Washington, D.C. gun law that banned handguns and required that all guns kept in homes be unloaded and disassembled or trigger-locked. The Court stated that certain forms of federal regulation were permissible, such as concealed weapons laws and bans on certain types of guns. But blanket prohibitions on entire categories of guns, such as handguns, that could be used for lawful purposes were not constitutional

Federal Firearms Act of 1938

This law required interstate gun dealers to obtain a dealer license and record the names and addresses of those purchasing guns. The law also prohibited the sale of guns to persons convicted of violent felonies.

Federal Gun Control Act of 1968

This act prohibited interstate commerce in guns and ammunition, forbade the sale of guns to felons, minors, drug addicts, and the mentally ill, and made it illegal to import surplus military weapons unless classified as sporting guns or souvenirs. The act was a major victory for President Lyndon Johnson who pressed Congress for three years to pass a gun law.

Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986

This act, passed with the support of the National Rifle Association, eased restrictions on gun dealers and gun sales. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau inspections of gun dealers were limited to once a year, the restrictions on the interstate sale of rifles and shotguns were lifted, ammunition sales through the mail were legalized, and the record-keeping requirements for ammunition sales were reduced. The law also increased the penalties for crimes committed with certain types of guns, and added drug offenses to the list of crimes that qualified for the 1968 Gun Control Act's minimum sentencing guidelines.

Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986

This law made it illegal to make or import armor piercing, or "cop-killing," bullets.

Militia Act of 1903 (also known as the Dick Act)

This act of Congress replaced the Militia Act of 1792. It increased federal funding to state militia and required that state militia meet more rigorous training and equipment standards. This act was an important step toward the formation of the modern National Guard.

Militia Acts of 1792

These two laws passed by the United States Congress (the Calling Forth Act and the Uniform Militia Act) clarified the procedures and circumstances under which the president could call state militia into service and required all free white men between 18 and 45 to enroll in their state militia.

National Defense Act of 1916

This Congressional act guaranteed that the state militia would remain the nation's "primary reserve force," but officially re-designated these militia as "National Guard," and clarified the president's authority to call them into service during times of war or national emergency.

National Firearms Act of 1934

This act was passed in an attempt to reduce the violence associated with organized crime by taxing certain weapons out of existence. The law imposed a $200 per gun tax on the sale of sawed-off shotguns and machine guns.

Presser v State of Illinois

In this 1886 case the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment only restricted federal action; it was not a prohibition against state action and therefore Illinois could regulate private militia.

Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988

This law prohibited the manufacture, possession, and sale of firearms not detectable by airport security machines.

United States v Cruikshank

In this 1876 case the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment did not provide an individual right to keep and bear arms; it only protected the states' rights to maintain militias.

United States v. Miller

In this 1939 case the United States Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of the 1934 National Firearms Act which had imposed a prohibitive tax on sawed-off shotguns and machine guns. Within a somewhat ambiguous ruling the Court held that as sawed-off shotguns had no "reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia," they were unprotected by the Second Amendment. The Court suggested that only those guns usable in militia service and held for the purpose of militia service were protected by the Second Amendment.

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

Passed in 1994, this act made nineteen types of assault weapons illegal.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...