Mood in '68


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Cast of One
January 28, 2013, 06:03 PM
For those of you that remember, what was the mood of the time when the GCA of '68 was passed. What did gun advocates write against the act? Did the firearms publications of the day have anything to say about it?

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shootist2121
January 28, 2013, 06:22 PM
I was only 18 at the time. Most of what I knew was via the news papers and TV. The coverage was bias with little visible opposition. And there was a ton of folks who really wanted mail orders of firearms and ammo stopped. Which was the biggest issue.

I knew little about opposition to the bill till Long after it's passage. The NRA did try to mustered opposition, but lack of mass communication net work and short window of the Bill in congress assured its passage at the time.

Be Safe

gbran
January 28, 2013, 06:26 PM
Detroit riots?
MLK, Bobby Kennedy assasinated.
Lots of subversive groups
Lots of acivism

Al Thompson
January 28, 2013, 07:42 PM
I remember my Dad telling me that I'd probably never be allowed to own guns when I was his age (at the time, 38).

No doom and gloom from me. I recall watching in horror as the 1994 AWB passed.

But we have something called the internet now and it's a whole new ball game.

Fight's still on, big time, but MSM isn't controlling the information flow.

As my K9 cop buddy says, run fast, bite hard!

Mango88
January 28, 2013, 07:49 PM
The late 1960s were tense, during the riots I remember ammo bing hard to find. I think that the GCA of 68 was somewhat inspired by racism and general fear of a turbulent society.

jmace57
January 28, 2013, 07:58 PM
What gbran said...

VA27
January 28, 2013, 09:17 PM
I was 19 at the time, 'out of the country', and never heard about it.

Walter
January 28, 2013, 09:36 PM
I was in Vietnam when it all went down, didn't know anything about it.
When I was home on leave in 1969 I went to buy some .22lr ctgs.
to go squirrel hunting with a friend. That's when I found out about it, and was I ever teed off. :what:

Three months earlier I had been toting an M-16, LAAW rockets, claymore mines,
M-26 hand grenades, blocks of C-4, etc., etc., and these :cuss: idiots wouldn't sell me a box of .22 shells? Dude, I was pi$$ed!:fire::fire::fire:

Now that I think about it, I'm STILL P.O.ed:banghead:

Walter

psyopspec
January 29, 2013, 09:19 AM
M-26 hand grenades, blocks of C-4, etc., etc., and these idiots wouldn't sell me a box of .22 shells? Dude, I was pi$$ed!

Can you say more about this? So there was something about meeting a certain standard just to be able to buy ammo? Was it the 21+ handgun rule in effect here, or something else?

jamesbeat
January 29, 2013, 09:35 AM
I wasn't there for the GCA, but I was in the UK in 1988 when they banned all semiauto rifles except .22 rimfires.
At the time, speaking out against the ban was politically equivalent to condoning mass killings. There was no question on the general public's mind that anyone would want to own such a rifle unless they were planning on going on a rampage.
It was all over the news, and the media wanted them banned, so they demonized gun owners.
There was no dissent among the political parties, so it was impossible to vote for a pro gun party because there was no such thing.
The media controlled the situation 100%.

Of course, in those days the media had 100% control over the news that the public had access to.
Britain had already outlawed firearms for self defense long before, and we had no equivalent of the Second Amendment.
We also had no real equivalent to the NRA. Gun advocacy in the UK was splintered, and the attitude was a 'ban their guns as long as we get to keep ours' mentality.

Here today in America, things are different.
We have the Second Amendment, the NRA, lots of pro-gun politicians, a more gun-friendly public, and of course the internet.

Toml
January 29, 2013, 09:43 AM
Back then J. Edgar Hoover was on our side. I was reading an insert from an old RCBS catalog last night that covered the same territory being discussed today. Crime statistics were bogus then as now.

ball3006
January 29, 2013, 12:53 PM
Don't know. I was in the middle of my great Vietnam adventure. I never had any problem buying ammo when I got back, nor guns either. However, I was in the UP of MI....chris3

JRH6856
January 29, 2013, 04:43 PM
It really started in 1963 with the JFK assassination over the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald bought his S&W Victory and Mannlicher=Carcano by mail order using an alias. That started rumblings in Congress about doing something but there wasn't much support until the RFK & MLK assassinations created a crisis that could be taken advantage of.

BaltimoreBoy
January 29, 2013, 05:05 PM
Al Thompson has it nailed: The Internet did not exist.

Effective opposition to the act was throttled by the MSM (long before they had that name).

Also remember that the NRA (whatever you may think of it today) was not in the fight:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association

"In 1977, two Second Amendment advocates—Harlon Carter and Neal Knox—defeated sportsmanship and conservation-focused officers to run the organization and its lobbying unit, respectively."

That also has changed the landscape.

pa350z
January 29, 2013, 07:51 PM
I was three (3) in 1968. However, I do recall in the mid 70's my pop buying ammo at a local tackle shop and being put in a record book of some sort. Does that sound familiar to the old timers?

gearhead
January 29, 2013, 08:51 PM
Can you say more about this? So there was something about meeting a certain standard just to be able to buy ammo? Was it the 21+ handgun rule in effect here, or something else?
Same thing happened to my dad. We lived on the Gulf coast but my grandparents lived on 80 acres in southern Arkansas and we would spend three weeks there every summer. The first summer after GCA68 passed we drove to Arkansas with the breakdown Browning .22LR in the trunk so we could do some plinking in the woods but when we got there we discovered that they could no longer sell ammo to anyone from out of state. I believe one of my uncles bought us a brick of .22LR. I don't recall how long this provision lasted but it was obviously repealed soon.

SouthernBoy
January 29, 2013, 09:57 PM
The late 1960s were tense, during the riots I remember ammo bing hard to find. I think that the GCA of 68 was somewhat inspired by racism and general fear of a turbulent society.

Racism had nothing to do with it. It was the result of the three major assassinations of the 60's which culminated in the two in 1968 (MLK and Bobby Kennedy). Guns and ammunition were still easy to obtain. I bought my first gun the day after King was killed and carried it that weekend. I could see the fires from Washington, DC from some of the hills in Arlington just outside of Falls Church, VA. The 60's were very troubled and turbulent times. Not a lot of good came out of the 60's.

bldsmith
January 30, 2013, 12:28 AM
I was 8, I remember my father ranting about how they already had xxxxx number of laws on the books and they did not need any more. Yea he yelled but voted D. He voted for Clinton and I about puked. Would not be surprised if he voted for the bummer. But then he was very racist so probably not. Unlike him I will not vote for an anti period. I will also remember who voted for and against our freedoms in the upcoming months/years.

Water-Man
January 30, 2013, 12:53 AM
In 1968 I was out of the military, had a concealed carry permit, owned a few handguns, a few rifles and a shotgun, owned a new motorcycle and a one year old car, had a good job and a year later would be in Woodstock.;)

armedandsafe
January 30, 2013, 12:57 AM
I was in Alaska, on top of a mountain North of the Circle, 3 hours by airplane from the nearest newspaper. We sent letters, but that was about all we could do.

Pops

slamfirev10
January 30, 2013, 01:03 AM
good thread.....off the read-up on the GCA of '68

thanks

Justin
January 30, 2013, 01:47 AM
I've seen references to the GCA of '68 that lead me to believe that it included a provision where you had to register ammunition purchases.

Is that true?

Triangle 66
January 30, 2013, 02:28 AM
Yes, up until the GOPA-86 you had to sign for ammo, even one round of .22LR. No mail order ammo and (because the internet wasn't around yet for non-military) no internet sales.

jim in Anchorage
January 30, 2013, 02:32 AM
Yes, but only handgun ammo. I distinctly remember filling out the same form as buying a gun to get .22's

Alaska444
January 30, 2013, 02:40 AM
Weird, I was 10, didn't know anything about it. When I was about 16, I walked into the Kittery Trading Post and bought a 12 ga shotgun by myself and shells whenever I needed them. Was there a difference with shotguns or something? I haven't read the 68 bill to know what is in it. Was it just the handgun issue? Sorry to be so naive on this one, will have to do a bit of catching up.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 30, 2013, 05:00 AM
Under 1968 GCA, all purchases of handgun ammo had to be registered and you had to be over 21 to purchase. Where I grew up (Oklahoma) we would just tell them the .22LR was for a rifle and they would skip it - though I'm not sure if that was the law or local interpretation of the law.

The ammo registration provision was dropped as part of the 1986 FOPA because it was so useless. I don't think even ATF stood up for it. The only people who wanted it continued were the usual suspects. That is why it always shocks me to see the same stupid idea brought up again - it is as if someone said "Hey, I've got an idea! Lets ban all sales of alcohol to cut down on alcohol-related mayhem."

dab102999
January 30, 2013, 05:09 AM
I wasn't there for the GCA, but I was in the UK in 1988 when they banned all semiauto rifles except .22 rimfires.
At the time, speaking out against the ban was politically equivalent to condoning mass killings. There was no question on the general public's mind that anyone would want to own such a rifle unless they were planning on going on a rampage.
It was all over the news, and the media wanted them banned, so they demonized gun owners.
There was no dissent among the political parties, so it was impossible to vote for a pro gun party because there was no such thing.
The media controlled the situation 100%.

Of course, in those days the media had 100% control over the news that the public had access to.
Britain had already outlawed firearms for self defense long before, and we had no equivalent of the Second Amendment.
We also had no real equivalent to the NRA. Gun advocacy in the UK was splintered, and the attitude was a 'ban their guns as long as we get to keep ours' mentality.

Here today in America, things are different.
We have the Second Amendment, the NRA, lots of pro-gun politicians, a more gun-friendly public, and of course the internet.
May not be the same country but sounds chillingly the same as today dont it....except the nra

230RN
January 30, 2013, 05:40 AM
As I recall it, there was too much, "Oh, they can't do that, we have the Second Amendment to protect our rights," so a lot of gun folks were pretty complacent about the possibility that the law would be passed.

I'm still hearing that.

Riiiight.

I hate to say it, but I was among the complacent. Once burned, though, twice shy.

The problem is basically that our politicos seem to feel they have the license to write any laws they want, since it takes so long for a case to get to the Supreme Court, and at great expense, so what the heck, why not pass it and let the Supremes sort it out.

I just wish that back in the mid-1930s, Miller had not been killed in a gunfight with (presumably) other bootleggers before it came to the oral argument phase at SCOTUS. We'd probably not have the National Firearms Act (NFA34) and there would have been a precendent to not mess with 2A.

So by 1968, regulation of machineguns and other things had become "normal," and nowadays Form 4473 has become "normal."

And so the "normalization" of gun restrictions goes on.

And on.

And soon it might be "abnormal" to have an 11-round magazine.

After all, they're 10% more dangerous than 10-rounders.

Can't have that, now, can we?

Terry, 230RN

bikerdoc
January 30, 2013, 05:56 AM
Like Walter. I was in Viet Nam. 20 yrs old. When I came back I was beyond pissed.

Pilot
January 30, 2013, 06:00 AM
I was a little kid, but I remember thinking the NRA were a bunch of gun nut, ultra right wing rednecks. I know this viewpoint did NOT come from my family. Now where would a child get that type of brainwashing? Hmmmm....... :mad:

JRH6856
January 30, 2013, 10:16 AM
Pilot, that is a good question because in 1968, the NRA was focused on hunting and conservation and were barely involved in the political discussion regarding GCA.

Coop45
January 30, 2013, 10:30 AM
Things are better today. The internet makes for much better communications and in 1968 the MSM was much more trusted than they are today. Other than that, I was on the walking tour of I Corps with a bunch of other Marines and never heard a thing about it. It was shocking to have to sign for 22 ammo when I got home.

NaturalDefensiveRights
January 30, 2013, 10:58 AM
I wasn't alive then. I was born a slave. But if you can be denied from owning a firearm when you're no longer serving a sentence or have never been adjudicated as mentally defective, it isn't a right, it's a privilege. <- You are here.

Of course, your right is denied by NICS in other ways, all the time, even if you're the most law abiding citizen ever.

Ken70
January 31, 2013, 04:01 PM
'68, it was like the world was going to end. It was just insane, Tet offensive, Russians invade Czecho, student riots all over the world, Police riot in Chicago during the Dems convention, RFK and MLK, I learn to drive...In Europe there still are groups of people that are described as "68ers".

JohnBT
January 31, 2013, 06:56 PM
The mood in '68? I was a college freshman and my parents lived 15 miles north of the D.C. line. Most people were more worried about the riots and the arson possibly spreading than anything to do with guns.

These are a few of the fires in NE D.C. one day after MLK was murdered. Google '68 riots to see if your town was smoking.

http://www.propublica.org/images/uploads/ap_washingtondc_riots_1968_300x200_121025.jpg

www.propublica.org/article/living-apart-how-the-government-betrayed-a-landmark-civil-rights-law

Edited to add: People knew that the Detroit riots of '67 had burned 2000 buildings and killed more than 40 people, so the fear of it spreading was real.

JohnBT
January 31, 2013, 07:04 PM
"In Europe there still are groups of people that are described as "68ers""

Really? I'm a Class of '68er, too. :) What a heck of a year.

Larry Ashcraft
January 31, 2013, 07:57 PM
I've seen references to the GCA of '68 that lead me to believe that it included a provision where you had to register ammunition purchases.
Yes, but only handgun ammo. I distinctly remember filling out the same form as buying a gun to get .22's
Maybe, I really don't remember. When I was 17-18 (1967-68) I remember buying two boxes of 22 short ammo for $1.00 at the auto parts store, and taking my dad's 1890 Winchester out into the prairie to plink. Did it several times.

Guilty pleasure too. Dad wouldn't have approved of "wasting" a dollar's worth of ammo on recreational shooting.

JRH6856
January 31, 2013, 10:43 PM
The GCA68 restriction is on handgun only ammo to minors and ISTR for a time, you had to fill out a form stating you were not a minor and that later changed to just presenting valid proof of age such as a DL.

Kansan
February 1, 2013, 01:55 PM
This is a great thread, I've tried to get my dad talking about that year. I was born 10 years later but kind of grew up with the impression that the world was full of hippies in '68. My dad corrected my version of events by saying that most people were civilized, church-going, normal people.

You guys are right about the internet. Whereas some of you came back from Vietnam to find this out, I get to read about it on the internet here in Afghanistan & am even able to email my congressmen from here. Of course, I can't participate in the panic buying (which is probably just as well) & I may come back home to some new draconian laws, but at least I was able to tell my congressmen what I thought about it before the fact.

Keep the stories from 68 coming!

J-Bar
February 1, 2013, 02:12 PM
Kansas City established a curfew under martial law when MLK was assassinated. My girlfriend of the moment was frightened and invited me to spend the night with her.

We found ways to comfort each other.

aarondhgraham
February 1, 2013, 03:35 PM
In 1964 I was 13 years old,,,
I sent a postal money order to Aldens catalog sales,,,
About two weeks later our postman left my K-98 8mm German Mauser on our front porch.

In 1966 I was 15 years old,,,
I drove my 80cc motorcycle to the TG&Y store,,,
When I got there I went inside and purchased a brand new AR-15.

I strapped the box to my motorcycle rack and drove home.

In 1969 I was a high school graduate,,,
I went to that same TG&Y store to buy some .22 LR,,,
I had to show identification and sign their "book" because it could be used in a handgun.

Times changed rather quickly.

Aarond

.

Alaska444
February 1, 2013, 03:41 PM
In 1966, my folks had to fly to Anchorage with my older brother who almost died. They were there for several weeks. My other brother told me to go down and buy some .38 Special bullets. At 8 years old, I went in and bought a box of hand gun ammo no questions asked in Nome Alaska.

The current generation has no CLUE what sort of freedoms we had that they don't any longer. That is just one of many examples. That is part of the problem, they don't know what we have already lost so that they are willing to let go of what little we have left. I truly miss the old days.

JRH6856
February 1, 2013, 10:52 PM
Unfortunately, it you describe the way things were and list the freedoms we have lost, many of them just see it as a record of progress.

sgtstryker
February 1, 2013, 11:13 PM
I was 13 in 1968, remember watching the war on the news every night. The GCA of 68 was just a news story, like it was the right thing to do, uh huh. And I remember signing for handgun ammo, but most folks would just say" it's for your rifle, ain't it "? But some would make you sign a log book with date and amount you bought. Sure wasn't the good ole days.

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