America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 18

The NRA was There
A
By Stephen P. Halbrook
s part of the historical
pendulum that swings
between freedom and
slavery, the right to bear
arms is always under attack by elites
seeking absolute power. In the twentieth
century, this pendulum swung
fi rst in the direction to deprive the
people of their rights, and later back
in the opposite direction in favor of
liberty-throughout this time, the
National Rifl e Association was there
to protect the people's liberty.
Th e fl uctuations have occurred in
essentially three stages. First came
the National Firearms Act (NFA)
of 1934, which proposed to ban
handguns. Th e NRA defeated that
egregious feature. Th en came the
Gun Control Act of 1968, which ran
roughshod over traditional rights.
Th e NRA was there to help defeat its
most-insidious proposal of universal
gun registration. Finally, came
the Firearms Owners' Protection
Act of 1986, which the NRA shepherded
to roll back restrictions in
favor of regaining lost liberties.
Th e NFA, which is still on the
18 AUGUST 2021 I AMERICA'S 1ST
FREEDOM
books today, requires registration
of machine guns, short-barreled
shotguns and suppressors. A tax of
$200 must be paid for the making
or transfer thereof. In 1934, that
was $3,904 in today's dollars-the
average annual income in 1934
was $1,368.
As originally proposed, the NFA
would have defi ned " fi rearm " to
include a pistol or revolver. At hearings
in Congress at the time, Attorney
General Homer Cummings (D)
argued that handguns were the main
weapon in the arsenal of gangsters. It
was left unsaid that organized crime
had been increased by the government
itself when it passed Prohibition.
Cummings admitted that
the Second Amendment prevented
Congress from banning fi rearms, but
argued that Congress could pass the
NFA under its power to tax.
Maj. Gen. Milton Reckord, then
the NRA executive vice president,
testifi ed in the hearings in support
of the deletion of three words:
" pistols and revolvers. " He argued
that " it is going to be another Volstead
Act " (the Prohibition law), as
citizens would not register pistols
and revolvers and " you are going to
legislate 15 million sportsmen into
criminals. ... "
Th e NRA urged its members
to write to members of Congress
expressing opposition. When Reckord
testifi ed in the U.S. Senate committee,
the chairman complained
about the letter-writing campaign,
apparently not wishing to hear from
his constituents.
Th e heat got to be too much, and
handguns were removed from the
bill. While the result was imperfect-no
one suggested any reason
to include short-barreled rifl es and
noise suppressors-the removal of
handguns avoided a new Prohibition
that would have entailed a war on
gun owners.
With dictatorship and war in
Europe, Congress passed the Property
Requisition Act of 1941. Th e
NRA worked with members of Congress
to include a prohibition on
further registration of fi rearms
and a declaration that the Second
Amendment protects individual
rights. After Pearl Harbor, anti-gun
pacifi sm disappeared, and the NRA
helped instruct future soldiers in
marksmanship.
But in the 1960s, unprecedented
anti-gun bills were debated in

America's First Freedom - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - August 2021

Contents
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - Cover1
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - Cover2
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 1
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - Contents
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 3
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 4
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 5
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 6
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 7
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 8
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 9
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 10
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 11
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 12
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 13
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 14
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 15
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 16
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 17
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 18
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 19
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 20
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 21
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 22
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 23
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 24
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 25
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 26
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 27
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 28
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America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 33
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 34
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 35
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 36
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 37
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 38
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America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 40
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America's First Freedom - August 2021 - 56
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - Cover3
America's First Freedom - August 2021 - Cover4
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