Two Decades of Gun Control Laws

diana-feil-226524-copy-200x300Gun control laws have been in a considerable state of flux for many years. Although in Illinois you are allowed to exercise your second amendment right to possess a firearm for self-defense, many still get in tangles with the law (see here for details on what warrants a charge of an unlawful use of a firearm or here for details regarding more serious affairs).

There are many reasons for this, but an undoubted central source would have to be the many changes to the laws governing guns over the years. More specifically, the last couple of decades have seen significant changes. The following are sections of significant change within the last 20 years of gun law history.


July: An amendment was brought forth to the Senate that required every handgun legally peddled on the market to have a trigger lock mechanism. This amendment was defeated. Afterward, the Senate approved a separate amendment that required gun dealers to have these trigger locks for sale. Along with that amendment, federal grants were created for gun education and safety programs.

October: New Orleans was the first city in the U.S. to file suit against gun merchants, gun manufacturers, and firearm trade associations. The nature of the suit was to recover the funds attributed to gun-related violence.

November: Chicago, Illinois went against local gun dealers and manufacturers with a $433,000,000 suit, claiming that the oversupply of their local gun markets provided guns to criminals. Weeks later, the permanent provisions of the Brady Act went into effect. This meant it was now required for all gun merchants to run a criminal background check on all gun buyers before the sale of the firearm. Within the following days, the NRA filed suit against the FBI in an attempt to block the collection of information on gun buyers.


Voted 3-2, the Los Angeles County, CA Board of Supervisors won in banning the Great Western Gun Show (the world’s largest gun show) in Los Angeles. Also in that year, Vice President Al Gore submitted a tie-breaker vote to pass a bill that required trigger locks on all newly manufactured handguns. It also enforced extended waiting periods and background checks to all firearm sales occurring at gun shows.


In December, President Bush’s 2001 gun control program, Project Safe Neighborhoods, was denied any further funding by Congress. In that same month, Massachusetts was the first state to start running instant electronic background checks with fingerprint scanning on gun buyers. This was implemented for obtaining guns as well as gun licenses.


Surprisingly, in the favor of both those who are against and those who are advocates of gun control laws, President Bush signed the National Instant Criminal Background Check Improvement Act, which made it mandatory for gun buyer background checks to screen for legally declared mentally ill individuals who would then be rendered ineligible to buy.


President Obama’s signed federal law took effect that state-licensed gun owners were allowed to bring their firearms into wildlife refuges and national parks if it was warranted by their state law.


On July 29th, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier introduced Fix Gun Checks Act of 2015. This act required background checks for all potential gun buyers making a purchase at gun shows as well as over the internet. Before this act, purchasing through these markets was coined the “gun show loophole.”


Almost exactly a week following the Feb. 14th mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, a review of bump fire stocks was ordered by President Trump to the Justice Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. These devices allow semi-automatic firearms to be fired in fully-automatic mode.

Regardless of where you stand, it is important to inform yourself of the upcoming 2018 gun law changes. Whether you are currently involved in any legal affairs or not, generally knowing these laws can make a difference. If you do happen to need any legal advice, you can contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at (312) 560-7100.

(image courtesy of Diana Feil)

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