Vanderbilt Law Review


Joe B. Brown

First Page



Throughout recorded history men have armed themselves with weapons for use against their fellow men and for protection from environmental hazards. An increasing population combined with increasingly effective and deadly weapons has created a problem in the control of private weapons. At the present time every state and district in the United States and the federal government have some restrictions on firearms.' Are they adequate? Many think not. A recent Gallup Poll shows that seventy-three per cent of the people in the United States would favor a law requiring a police permit before a person could buy a gun. Even among gun owners sixty per cent favor such a law. This poll, taken several months after President Kennedy's assassination with a mail order rifle, indicates a growing concern with the problem of sale of firearms in this country. President Johnson has expressed concern about private armed groups and requested additional legislation to control mail order sales. Presently, there are ten major bills to regulate firearms pending in the Congress of the United States, and additional legislation was introduced in twenty-three states between January and April of 1965 alone. The purpose of this note is to examine existing laws of both state and federal governments, to consider the constitutional restrictions on firearms legislation, to discuss the need for additional or improved legislation, and to suggest legislation for federal adoption and a model statute for state consideration.