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February 06, 1994

Reaffirm ABA Policy on Firearm Regulation

Bar Association of San Francisco
Task Force on Gun Violence
Beverly Hills Bar Association
Santa Clara County Bar Association
Section of Litigation
King County Bar Association
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Criminal Justice Section
Alameda County Bar Association
Section of Science and Technology
Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children
Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
Denver Bar Association

Adopted by the House of Delegates
February 7, 1994


BE IT RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association, which has for almost 30 years supported policies regulating the use and sale of guns, reminds the public of the Association's long standing opposition to uncontrolled use and sale of guns and its commitment to public safety; issues the warning that guns have now become the most visible instrument of violence in what has become a culture of violence of which children and youth have become victims; and reaffirms the following Association policies respecting regulation of firearms:

1965: Support legislation amending the Federal Firearms Act of 1934 to, inter alia, require licensing of dealers in interstate commerce of firearms; prohibit sales to felons, fugitives, persons under indictment, adjudicated mental incompetents and minors; restrict sale of handguns to residents of the state where purchased; and control commerce and importation of larger caliber weapons and firearms in general.

1973: Support legislation to limit sale and possession of cheap foreign-made handguns

1975: Support amending the Gun Control Act of 1968 to, inter alia:

  • prohibit interstate sales by unlicensed persons of ammunition and firearms components; define the term "firearms for sporting purposes";
  • upgrade standards of eligibility for licensing of dealers, requiring background checks of applicants and making conferral of such licenses discretionary rather than mandatory;
  • require dealers, manufacturers, transporters and importers of firearms and ammunition to provide adequate and secure storage facilities in order to reduce theft of firearms and ammunition;
  • mandate a waiting period prior to firearms purchases for a criminal background check by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms;
  • encourage severe, but not mandatory, penalties for offenses involving firearms;
  • and require periodic review of eligibility of handgun possessors consistent with due process of law.

1983: Oppose efforts to repeal provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968; endorse effective and proven measures to control the "possession" of handguns; support enactment of appropriate penalties to deter firearms-related crime.

1991: Support the enactment of legislation encouraging gun safety education programs and providing for penalties for adults' failure to properly safeguard firearms.

1993: Support legislation to limit availability of assault weapons to the military and law enforcement organizations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges legislative bodies to vigorously pursue solutions to the problem of gun violence consistent with existing ABA policy.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association instructs the Task Force on Gun Violence to report to the House of Delegates at the August 1994 Meeting as to policy recommendations further addressing the problem of gun violence.