Summary of the Gun Control Act of 1968

Summary of the Gun Control Act of 1968

A law that is linked to gun policy in the U. S is the Gun Control Act of 1968. The long title of this law is “An Act to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for better control of the interstate traffic in firearms.” This Act is one of the United States Federal laws entitled to regulate firearms ownership and the firearms industry. It was implemented in October 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson (Polan, 2017). In the federal laws, it is Title I. Gun Control Act was modified in 1993 to introduce background checks and included a list of people prohibited from owning firearms.

For more than 30 years the Gun Control Act has created the legal core for the country’s national gun policy. The congressional deliberations that led to the passage of the Act extended for more than five years involving the White House, the Departments of Justice and Treasury, both houses of Congress, and firearms interest groups (Winkler, 2018). The structure of firearms interest groups was created out of the weakness observed in the existing 1938 Federal Firearms Act (FFA). Initially, the Gun Control Act was impelled following the murder of President John F. Kennedy who was shot with a firearm bout by mail order. Shortly after JF Kennedy’s murder, Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated followed by Robert F. Kennedy. These deaths renewed the efforts to pass the bill compounded by the shifts in people’s attitudes towards gun ownership.

The bill’s implementation was however paused by a draw ballot in the House Judiciary Committee on June 11 1968 but after a reconsideration period of nine days, the Act was passed. The Gun Control Act is also known as House Resolution 17735 was signed into law by October 1968. The bill banned mail-order sales of shotguns and rifles and prohibited drug users, felons, and people with mental issues from owning guns (Kleck, 2017). In 1968, the Act was revised by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act leading to the introduction of background check requirements and categories of people not required to buy firearms.


Kleck, G. (2017). Point blank: Guns and violence in America (First Edition). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Winkler, A. (2018). Is the Second Amendment Becoming Irrelevant? Indiana Law Journal 93(1), 253.

Polan, R. B. (2017). The Context of Violence: The Lautenberg Amendment & Interpretive Issues in the Gun Control Act. Brook. L. Rev., 83(1), 1441.


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