Congress Enacts Expanded Gun Regulations

1968

In 1927, Congress had passed legislation that banned mailing such concealable weapons as cane guns and pen guns, but until 1968 there is no law that regulates the mailing of rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the handgun-related assassinations of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968, Congress enacts the Gun Control Act. The act regulates imported guns, expands licensing and record keeping requirements, bans mail-order sales of guns and ammunition, raises the age at which one can legally buy a gun, and prevents convicted felons, mentally ill people, and illegal drug users from buying guns.