How M.L.K.’s Death Helped Lead to Gun Control in the U.S.Breaking News
tags: gun control
The 1960s were known for their turmoil, but the degree to which guns were a factor is sometimes overlooked. Not only was a president assassinated, but an ex-Marine opened fire from an observation deck in Austin and the homicide rate leaped by more than 50 percent, driven by fatal shootings. Gun sales soared, prompted by fears of violence and rioting.
But the mayhem and violence didn’t seem to move a Congress that refused to take gun-control legislation seriously. It would not even approve a proposal to outlaw the mail-order purchase of rifles, like the one Lee Harvey Oswald bought for $19.95, plus shipping and handling, and used to kill President Kennedy.
One of the few major gun control measures enacted, in California, was a reaction not to violence but to the Black Panthers’ exercising their right to bear arms by patrolling with loaded rifles.
The political calculus began to change on April 4, 1968. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. Nine weeks later, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot in Los Angeles.
Finally, gun control became a possibility — at least in the hands of President Lyndon B. Johnson, a master at turning tragedy into legislative gain.
comments powered by Disqus
- Bob Murray, Who Fought Against Black Lung Regulations As A Coal Operator, Has Filed For Black Lung Benefits
- A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans
- An Appeal to the HNN Community: Help Longtime Supporter and Contributor Ron Steinman
- Washington History Seminar 10/2: Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1945-1962
- Smithsonian Taps N.Y. Cultural Director To Lead African American Museum
- With Evictions Looming, Cities Revisit a Housing Experiment From the ’70s (video)
- Stephen Wertheim's "Tomorrow the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy" (video)
- Catholic University of America Presents Geraldo Cadava on "The Hispanic Republican"
- OAH Statement on White House Conference on American History
- The Joke’s on Us