No, Ronald Reagan Did Not Believe in “Gun Control”

Propaganda: Ronald Reagan believed guns have no place in society! He would be an enemy of the NRA! Republicans have become so extreme that even their hero, Ronald Reagan, would not be one of them today!

C25320-31AFACTS:

First, let’s get this out-of-the-way: Ronald Reagan was a long-time Lifetime Member of the NRA.

Ok, there’s a lot here so stay with me. You’ll be glad you did…

Progressives point to one quote by Reagan, two Bills he signed, and one Bill he supported: The Mulford Act,  The Firearm Owners Protection Act and The Brady Bill.

Let’s deal with the quote, second. It goes as follows:

I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense,” he said. “But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.

Reagan, then 78-years old, retired and living at his ranch near Stockton, CA, made this statement at a birthday celebration for him at the University of Southern California, on February 6, 1989. On January 17, 1989, less than a month earlier, 24-year old Patrick Purdy, armed with a AK-47, killed five school children and wounded thirty others before killing himself at a Stockton, California, Elementary School.

Reagan was 78, he was emotional, the massacre happened in his home state, practically around the corner from his ranch, he was responding to a question from the audience, and he erred on the “machine gun” part. But, we can take him at his word that he didn’t believe “machine guns” should be legal.

A “machine gun” is a fully automatic weapon. A fully automatic weapon means it continues to fire rounds after you depress and hold the trigger one time. A semi-automatic weapon means you have to squeeze the trigger to expel each round. Purdy did not use a “machine gun”. The AK-47 he used was a semi-automatic weapon. “Machine guns”, fully automatic weapons, were made illegal under the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), in 1986, under President Ronald Reagan.

Firearm Owners Protection Act? Sounds like it protects the rights of firearm owners, doesn’t it?

So, what did FOPA, do? Here are the major provisions:

  • The Act mandated that ATF compliance inspections can be done only once per year
  • Affirmed the Hughes Amendment, which banned “machine guns” or fully automatic weapons (more on this later)
  • Affirmed the Safe Passage provision, allowing firearms owners to travel between States without being exposed to States’ restrictive gun laws
  • Prohibited the US Government from keeping records of gun sales or maintaining a gun registry of American Citizens

FOPA was signed by Ronald Reagan in response to, and in support of, the NRA’s allegations of abuse by ATF agents. As related by Wikipedia:

In the Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 97th Congress, Second Session (February 1982), a bipartisansubcommittee (consisting of 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats) of the United States Senate investigated the Second Amendment and reported its findings. The report stated:

“The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.[1]

It concluded that seventy-five percent of ATF prosecutions were “constitutionally improper”, especially on Second Amendment issues.[2]

So, FOPA was signed into law by Reagan to leash the Federal Government, specifically the ATF, in its abuse of our Second Amendment Rights. Said abuse being confirmed by a bipartisan Committee of Democrats and Republicans. This was back in the day when Democrats still believed in the Constitution.

It’s noteworthy that the Hughes Amendment, banning automatic weapons, was carried by a controversial “voice vote” as decreed by Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who was  presiding as Chairman over the proceedings. Immediately, House members pleaded with Rangel to take a a recorded vote. Rangel ignored this plea. The ban on “Machine guns” was carried by a a raucous and controversial voice vote that many maintain would not have held had the vote been recorded.

As for the Brady Bill, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Jim Brady was press secretary to President Ronald Reagan when both he and the president, along with Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and District of Columbia police officerThomas Delehanty, were shot on March 30, 1981, during an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. Brady was shot in the head and suffered a serious wound that left him partially paralyzed for life.[4]

Ronald Reagan, by then retired from Office, clearly felt sympathy for Jim Brady, and he did support the Brady Bill. As enacted, it simply states:

That background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer.

A couple of facts about the effectiveness of The Brady Bill:

  • From 1994 through 2009, over 107 million Brady background checks were conducted. During this period, only 1.8% of attempted firearm purchases were blocked by the Brady background check system.
  • Prosecution and conviction of violators of the Brady Act, however, is extremely rare. During the first 17 months of the Act, only seven individuals were convicted. In the first year of the Act, 250 cases were referred for prosecution and 217 of them were rejected.[19]

And what about the Mulford Act?

There’s a lot of urban legend that swirls around the Mulford Act. The truth is, it is an innocuous piece of legislation as defined by two sections of the California Penal Code, 12031 and 171c.  It basically states that you cannot carry a loaded weapon in public in plain view, or concealed without a concealed weapons permit, or on State Capitol property, period. It was introduced in California in 1967 and signed into law by California Governor Ronald Reagan. The Mulford Act was widely recognized as a response to Black Panthers intimidating police by gathering with loaded rifles and shotguns as police attempted to arrest blacks in their communities.

The political drama aside, Mulford says nothing more than you can’t carry a loaded weapon in plain view. And that you can’t carry it concealed without a permit. And that you can’t carry it, period, on State Government property. Nearly every State in the Union currently has laws that accomplish the same thing. Relative to exhibiting Reagan as a progressive gun control proponent, it’s a dud.

So, where does all of this leave us?

Did Reagan believe in some gun regulation?

  • No question. But the gun regulation that Reagan espoused was codified into law under the Mulford Act, the Firearm Owners Protection Act and The Brady Bill. Each of these laws have been in force for more than 20 years.

Would Reagan oppose the NRA?

  • Ridiculous. He was a celebrated Lifetime Member of the NRA.

Would Reagan support the kinds of gun control legislation that progressives are proposing, and for which they are citing Reagan as a supporter?

  • There is no evidence that Reagan believed in more gun control than what he supported and passed. 

Actually, the record shows that Reagan would be strongly opposed to the kinds of gun control currently being proposed by the Left. I’ll let him make the case in his own words:

“In my opinion, proposals to outlaw or confiscate guns are simply unrealistic panacea.”

The Second Amendment “leaves little, if any, leeway for the gun control advocate,” he added that “the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive.”

“You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There’s only one way to get real gun control: Disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up and if you don’t actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time… It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers. I happen to know this from personal experience.”

And, my favorite:

“There are those in America today who have come to depend absolutely on government for their security. And when government fails they seek to rectify that failure in the form of granting government more power. So, as government has failed to control crime and violence with the means given it by the Constitution, they seek to give it more power at the expense of the Constitution. But in doing so, in their willingness to give up their arms in the name of safety, they are really giving up their protection from what has always been the chief source of despotism — government.”

Ronald Reagan … anti-gun, anti-NRA, anti-Second Amendment?

Bunk.

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25 comments

  1. Ronald Reagan also signed a letter requesting the absolute and total BAN the sale and manufacture of assault style weapons for civil use. That added to the fact that he campaigned on the largest illegal immigrant amnesty in modern times (if not the history of the country) would of been enough to make sure that he never survived the primary process now a days.

    Like

  2. Anonymous · · Reply

    I’ll say this , too much of anything is dangerous . It shocked me finding this out about my favorite president . I don’t believe this refugees that come Syria shouldn’t have the right to obtain arms

    Like

  3. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

    Truth. Complete honest truth in this column. Read Reagan quotes; he was against gun control, no question.

    You debate the issues; keep spreading the truth, for liberals such as Trader Vance just don’t get it. They claim Reagan was “for gun control” [sic], yet they cannot provide any evidence to support their argument, thereby allowing you, MoralNorth, to claim an easy victory.

    –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

    Like

  4. Bullshit, complete lying bullshit in this column. Read Reagan quotes, he was for gun control, no question.

    You debate the issues. You cannot fabricate your facts for your own convenience.

    Like

    1. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

      Cite your studies, Vance.

      –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

      Like

    2. Nonsense. You didn’t even read the post, apparently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. victorgolfcharles · ·

        That also explains, MoralNorth, why Trader Vance lost $MMM on a trivia question dealing with Reagan and gun control, so STOP WRITING IN, TRADER VANCE. YOU’RE WRONG.

        Like

      2. victorgolfcharles · ·

        Well, Trader Vance tried rebutting this post… and the good thing about that is, I think a lot less of him now.
        [SICK BURN]

        Like

  5. Jesse newton · · Reply

    You posit that he didn’t believe in gun control the. Cute specific gun control legislation he signed into action. You contradict yourself.

    Like

    1. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

      Cite your studies, Newton.

      –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

      Like

  6. Truthfully I don’t care a lot about what Ronald Reagan said, or didn’t say..He was in early stage Alzhiemers when in office. He fell asleep at meetings. Others wrote his speeches. He only cared about the rich and his rich friends.. Some gun owners are so afraid that someone will try to take away the thing that makes them feel big that they against even common sence laws to try to keep people safe. There is no harm in having to have a license to carry. There’s no harm in having a background check before you can perches a gun. Guns should be treated like we treat cars. They should be registered and when sold they should be reported as sold, and the new owner be named and go thru a background check. This hurts no law abiding citizen. Everyone keeps their guns, as long as you don’t break the law.

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    1. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

      ENGLISH, MADERFAKER, DOO YOOH SPEEKHKQKHQHKQHHKQHQHKQHQHKH BAGEL

      Like

  7. brocephus · · Reply

    What about this?

    “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons,” said California Gov. Ronald Reagan in May 1967, after two dozen Black Panther Party members walked into the California Statehouse carrying rifles to protest a gun-control bill. Reagan said guns were “a ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.”

    Gun control or racism – which one?

    Like

    1. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

      SPOILIOPS ALERT: Ronald W. Reagan was a Democrat at the time.

      –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

      Like

      1. Actually, he was a Republican by then.

        Bottom line, he signed a gun control bill into law, and no amount of spin can change that fact. Many Republicans’ near-worship of their “Saint Ronnie” seems to defy anything resembling logic sometimes.

        Like

      2. victorgolfcharles · ·

        Let’s just say I believe you. Which I don’t. Because you are full of bologna. If what you say doesn’t make sense to me, it usually isn’t true. They don’t call me a Living Lie Detector for nothin’.

        –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

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  8. Very soon this website will be famous among all blogging and site-building
    people, due to it’s nice content

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  9. You are the worst of the worst political hacks. You aren’t even clever in your propaganda. I liken you the Sean Hannity rather than the much smarter Bill O’reilly. You will never be taken serious by anyone outside of the far-right, which is as fact a political minority. If you were a real man or had any pride in what you spew you would use your real name like every other author and even blogger does. We see right through you coward.

    You claim that because no one debunks what you say you are vindicated? No one debunks what you say because no one comes on this site. I’m hear by searching Ted Nugent. Second, what you do is state specifically chosen facts and weave a web of conjecture around it. In other words, you don’t tell the full story in context or just state snips of facts to paint the picture you want to convey; and even that you’re bad at.

    Like

    1. You have unlimited space to tell “the full story”. In “context”. So, go for it. Bring your facts. Prove me wrong.

      Until then, I just don’t have the time to debate your feelings, insecurities, or bias. Ping me when you have some facts that support a cogent argument.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. victorgolfcharles · ·

        Ron cannot tell the full story because Ron’s mental capacity has deteriorated to the point where Ron resorts to calling conservatives names because Ron cannot debate properly.

        In short: Ron is a liberal retard (which is a redundancy).

        Now THAT’S a full story. C:

        –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

        Like

    2. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

      Let’s just say I believe you, Ron. Which I don’t. Because you are full of BS.

      –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

      Like

  10. James · · Reply

    You’re splitting hairs. I get it now. If a Republican signs legislation restricting gun ownership it’s called “gun regulation”. If a Democrat signs legislation restricting gun ownership, it’s called “gun control”. What would you think about the Mulford Act if it is enacted by Gov. Sandoval and applied to the folks in Nevada supporting Cliven Bundy? You and Ted Nugent would be going apesh*t and telling the Governor to suck on your machine guns. Deukmejian, a Republican, signed the first legislation restricting semi-automatic weapons & high-capacity magazines.

    There was a KABA Poll conducted where respondents were asked their opinion on the actions that Reagan took on gun “regulation” without telling them that it was Reagan who enacted those controls. Not knowing who was responsible for the laws, 80% of the respondents described the acts as “traitorous”. The respondents were correct and that is what you would be printing here if a Democrat enacted those very same laws.

    That is the sure sign of a partisan hack, BTW. At least Ted Nugent is consistent. He had some choice words regarding Reagan and the . And for that, I respect his views on 2nd Amendment Rights. But please stop with the double-speak on gun regulation vs gun control. It’s the same frickin’ thing.

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    1. I have no issue with some gun regulation. Lord knows, we have a ton of it on the books already. I also have no problem with Mulford. We have security at public government facilities that is warranted. Your KABA poll is irrelevant. How were those questions asked? But you dissemble on the difference between “regulation” and “control”. Again, we already have a ton of regulation that very few are looking to roll back. But, we have an entirely new, more aggressive, attack on the Second Amendment that is hailed as “gun control”. That’s the phrase the Left has chosen for their new assault on the private gun ownership. Play word games all you like; but today’s “gun control” is in a different universe than Mulford and sensible gun “regulation” that Reagan supported. And it’s disingenuous for the Left to spin this issue as “Reagan supported gun control”.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. victorgolfcharles · · Reply

      Okay, James. You’re so very clever. You tell us what color it should be.

      –Victor Golf Charles, AMERICAN

      Like

  11. As usual, President Reagan was spot on in his defense of the constitution and his understanding of what the role of government was meant to be. Well written and thought out.

    Like

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