National Firearms Act of 1934 by FDR

Roosevelt’s original proposal for what would become the National Firearms Act of 1934, the first federal gun control law in the US, sought to tax all firearms and establish a national registry of guns. When gun owners objected, Congress scaled down FDR’s proposal to allow only for a restrictive tax on machine guns and sawed-off shotguns, which were thought to be gangster weapons with no usefulness for self-defense.

This act taxed firearms under 18 inches in length and required registration of those same guns — a restriction later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1968 because it might require gun owners to self-incriminate if they attempted to register a weapon illegal in their home state according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The registration requirement was removed from later versions of the law.

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