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The House : Weakened Gun Law

A bill to weaken the nation’s gun control law was passed by the House on a vote of 292 for and 130 against. This was a victory for the National Rifle Assn. and a defeat for police groups, such as the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police.

In softening the 1968 Gun Control Act, the bill in part allows rifles and shotguns to be sold across state lines; makes it tougher for federal agents to inspect firearms sellers; allows dealers to make unrecorded sales from their private collections while easing other record-keeping requirements and drops the requirement of current law that ammunition sellers be licensed.

The anti-gun lobby succeeded in keeping the existing ban on interstate sales of handguns. But the bill permits handguns and long guns to be transported from state to state. The measure (HR 4332) was sent to conference with the Senate.

Sponsor Harold L. Volkmer (D-Mo.) said his bill “represents the second most important step in the history of American gun owners. The first was the Second Amendment to the Constitution,” guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms.

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Opponent Peter W. Rodino Jr. (D-N.J.) said police officers overwhelmingly opposed the legislation because “there were 700 or so” officers killed in the last decade, “and they wonder whether or not they might be next.”

Members voting yes supported a top-to-bottom softening of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Beilenson (D) x Rep. Berman (D) x Rep. Fiedler (R) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Waxman (D) x

Interstate Handgun Sales

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An amendment to continue the existing federal ban on the interstate sale of handguns was adopted by the House on a vote of 233 to 184. This was the anti-gun lobby’s only victory during two days of debate on legislation (HR 4332, above) to soften the restrictive 1968 Gun Control Act, enacted after the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

As later passed, the bill legalizes the interstate sale of rifles and shotguns.

Amendment supporter Bruce A. Morrison (D-Conn.) said of the proposal to permit interstate handgun sales: “The police have called this the ‘cop-killer’ provision. It should be stricken.”

Opponent Tommy Robinson (D-Ark.) called the ban excessive, because “the bottom line is . . . most criminals in this country do not abide by the Gun Control Act of 1968.”

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Members voting yes wanted to ban the interstate sales of handguns.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Beilenson (D) x Rep. Berman (D) x Rep. Fiedler (R) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Waxman (D) x


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