Are There Really Fewer Federal Gun Control Laws Today Than a Generation Ago?

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

My first reaction when I saw a Scripps News report that claims there are fewer federal gun control laws in place now than a generation ago was to laugh, but I quickly wondered if that was really the case. I've been covering the Second Amendment for a generation, after all, so was it really possible that I'd somehow missed the repeal of multiple federal gun statutes? 


I dug into reporter Jennifer Glenfield's story in the hopes of learning more, but despite the headline and her assertion that "amid the web of rules inside state lines, on the federal level, there are fewer gun control laws today than a generation ago," Glenfield offered absolutely no evidence to back up that claim. 

The closest she came was in noting the sunset of the federal "assault weapons" ban in 2004, but as she acknowledged, we've also had the addition of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022. If anything, the number of federal statutes regulating firearms has remained essentially the same, but when you add in all of the additional restrictions that have been placed on gun owners through ATF rule changes, I'd argue that there are more restrictions now than there were 20 years ago, at least at the federal level. 

That wasn't the only questionable claim that Glenfield made in her report. She also asserted that "[f]or most of American history, gun control laws weren't controversial," claiming that the National Firearms Act, for instance, "didn't meet a lot of resistance." There's a germ of truth to that statement, at least when it comes to Congress, but the Democrats also had supermajorities in the House and Senate in 1934. And the NFA did go through some major revisions before it was enacted into law. The original text would have regulated handguns the same way machine guns were regulated, but that language was dropped from the bill because it was too controversial.


Glenfield dubiously described the failed Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021 as a "move toward bipartisan compromise." The bill, authored by gun control favorite Rep. Lucy McBath, had no Republican co-sponsors in the House, and just five GOP representatives voted in favor of the bill when it came up for a vote in June 2022. That was hardly a "compromise" measure, however. In fact, it was followed up just a few weeks later with a vote to enact a brand new "assault weapon" ban. 

This is an incredibly odd "news" story. It makes a claim but never backs it up with facts, and fails to address the question posed in the headline: "Why are there fewer federal gun control laws today than before?" Glenfield's reporting essentially serves as nothing more than a pitch for re-electing Joe Biden:

This year, the Biden administration mandated about 20,000 previously unlicensed gun dealers to get licensed. That would require them to perform a background check on buyers.

In the leadup to the 2024 presidential election, President Biden is pushing for stricter gun control laws, saying: "There are already too many empty seats around family tables. It is fully within our power to stop this epidemic."

Former President Trump said in February that he would roll back "every single Biden attack on gun owners."

No matter who wins the presidency, the fight over gun laws will remain.


Such keen insight to predict the gun control debate will continue no matter who's elected. I never would have figured that out if it weren't for Glenfield and her crack reporting. 

Anti-2A twaddle like this is nothing new, of course, but we're going to be inundated with biased stories promoting pro-gun control views (and by extension, the Biden campaign) between now and November. If you're bothered by this you're not alone. The Second Amendment Foundation says new polling conducted by McLaughlin & Associates found more than 70% of respondents are concerned about anti-gun bias in the media. We might not be able to get the media to play it straight, but we can at least serve as a counter to their biased reporting and outright falsehoods that masquerade as facts. 

That's one of our primary missions here at Bearing Arms, and we need all the help we can get to tell the truth to the American people. You can play a vital role by becoming a VIP or VIP Gold member. You'll get access to exclusive reporting, an ad-free experience, and the ability to comment on stories, but you'll also be supporting the independent, pro-2A work that we do here at Bearing Arms. From fact-checking biased media to letting you hear firsthand from the lawmakers, attorneys, activists, and scholars who are advancing and defending our Second Amendment rights, we're dedicated to giving you the information you need to keep our rights strong and secure. With Big Tech censorship and anti-gun bias rampant in the media, we face unprecedented challenges, and your continued support is key to helping us stay in the fight. 


Use promo code SAVEAMERICA when you sign up for a VIP or VIP Gold membership and you can save 50% while you're saving the Second Amendment from the gun lobby's attacks and media misinformation. I'd recommend a VIP Gold membership since that gives you access to all kinds of cool stuff across the Townhall Media family of websites, including our exclusive live chat with HotAir's Ed Morrissey and myself each and every Wednesday afternoon, but no matter which membership you choose, I sincerely thank you for your support.   

Join the conversation as a VIP Member