June 10, 1968 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SENATE S6899
GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I ask
unanimous consent that I may proceed
for 5 or 6 minutes.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there
objection? The Chair hear& none, and
the Senator from Montana is recognized.
Mr. MANSF!Ji'LD. Mr. President, there
has been a great deal of pressure for
the passing of anti-gun laws to prevent
violence and to stop assassinations. I believe
that it is imperative for the American
people to understand that no type of
gun law will prevent murder, and that
any law passed will not prevent persons
who are bent on breaking the law from
acquiring guns or weapons of any sort.
I believe that most guns used in the execution
of a felony are bootlegged, stolen,
or guns bought under the counter. It is
my further belief that the persons who
would be most affected are those lawabiding
citizens who possess firearms for
·the protection of their families, their
homes, their possessions, and their recreation.
I would point out that the Senate, em
its own initiative before the assassination
of our late beloved and respected
colleague, Senator Kennedy, completed
action on the safe streets and crime control
The Congress completed action on this
bill whlch bans interstate mail order sales
of handguns and permits over-thecounter
sales of handguns within a State
only to residents over 21. Incidentally, 44
percent of the murders in this country
were committed with handguns and only
16 percent by other guns. Rifles and shotguns
are not covered by the restrictions.
The blll also outlaws possession of any
sort of firearms by persons convicted of
a felony, mental incompetents, veterans
with anything less than an honorable
discharge, Americans who have renounced
their citizenship and aliens illegally
in this country.
The action of the Senate, concurred
in by the House, does not ban the mailorder
sale of rifles or shotguns, nor
does it fulfill many of the recommendations
cited by the President's Commission
on Law Enforcement and Administration
of Justice. That Commission
First. The outlawing of private possession
of such military-type firearms as
bazookas, machlneguns, mortars, and
Second. Prohibiting such persons as
habitual dnmkards, drug addicts, mentally
incompetents, mentally disturbed,
and ex-convicts from buying or posses~ing
firearms. This has aiready been
done by the Senate in the safe streets
and crime control bill. .
Third. Underscored the need for State
registration of all firearms, and State
permits to possess or carry handguns.
These requirements will not stop the
killing; they may help to discourage it,
and personally I would favor them.
The President and the people of this
country can be assured that the Chief
Executive's plea to close the "brutal
loopholE!S" in our gun laws will be given
I favor, and I have favored, the registration
of all firearms, but I believe
that It is basically a State function, and
that the various States should accept
this responsibility and not place it on
the shoulders of the Federal Government.
If the States will not act, then I
think it will be the duty of the Federal
Government to assume that responsibility,
as it has all too often when the
States refused to assume theirs.
As far as handguns are concerned, it
is my belief that they should not only
be outlawed, as they are In the bill
passed by the Senate, but that the most
serious consideration should be given to
restricting their use to law enforcement
authorities or other persons qualified
to use them in the line of duty.
Again I want to repeat, so that the is-sue
can be set forth in perspective, that
we can pass all the gun laws in the country
and stlll not prevent people from getting
shot. Gun laws no matter how stringent
are not the answers and are not a
cure-all, and we all had better face up
to that fact. The answer lies in a sense
of responsibility, parental control, more
and better trained police, improvement
of environmental conditions, obedience
to the law, and less protection for the
criminal and more protect.ion for the innocent.
There is too much lawlessness,
disrespect, and irresponsibility today,
and as far as guns are concerned every
weapon in the country could be seized
and confiscated, but we would still have
the problem of guns of a crude type
which could be manufactured at home,
could be used with deadly accuracy, and
they could kill.
It is impossible to give total protection
to any public figure today, and while
some States, such as California, Michigan,
and New York, have tight gun control
laws, yet in California a suspect possessing
a gun illegally, carrying It illegally,
and using it illegally, took the life
of our late colleague.
Any proposal on gun legislation will, I
hope, and I am sure, be given prompt
consideration by the Judiciary Committee
or by whatever committee it may be
Any bill that is reported will be taken
up promptly by the Policy Committee
and will be brought to the floor of the
Senate after that committee has acted.
We ought to think nat onlY of public
persons---and their deaths are, Indeed,
tragic-but also of the ordinary people,
such as the two marine lieutenants one
of them from Fishta!l, Mont., who were
shot in a little hamburger stand in Washington
during the past week; of the busdriver
who was held up and murdered;
of the high schO()l_boy from Wilson High
School, who a week or 10 days ago was
assaulted and murdered; and of the
thousands of little people, who are likewise
entitled to just as much protection
as are public figures, a.lthough certain
public figures, because of their particular
circumstances, need a great deal more. I
shall have more to say about that at a
Mr. President, I conclude by stating
again that it was the Senate that initiated
a good b111 for the control af handguns,
and that the House also approved
that bill. So far as I am concerned, I
hope that the President will sign the
safe streets and omnibus crime control
bill, because I think it is not only needed,
but is also long overdue.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 44, Folder 37, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana. For additional information about our collections visit our website: http://www.lib.umt.edu/asc . To suggest a keyword or share what you know about this item e-mail email@example.com
Images captured using a Atiz BookDrive Pro with dual Canon EOS Rebel T1i�s at 400 PPI. Dual camera control through BookDrive Capture 5.1. Camera RAW (.CR2) files processed to an Image PDF at 300 PPI using Adobe Bridge CS5. PDF files Downsampled to a web-ready PDF and Optical Character Recognition performed using Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Copyright to this collection is held by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula. This image may also be protected by copyright. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections.