National Firearms Act

This is a Non Profit Project. We don't collect personal data and we don't use cookies.


National Firearms Act

National Firearms Act

26 U.S.C. § 5801 : US Code – Section 5801: Imposition of tax

This description of the National Firearms Act tracks the language of the U.S. Code, except that, sometimes, we use plain English and that we may refer to the “Act” (meaning National Firearms Act) rather than to the “subchapter” or the “title” of the United States Code.

U.S. Code Citation

26 U.S.C. § 5801

U.S. Code Section and Head

  • United States Code – Section 5801
  • Head of the Section:

    Imposition of tax

Text of the Section

(a) General rule On 1st engaging in business and thereafter on or before July 1 of each year, every importer, manufacturer, and dealer in firearms shall pay a special (occupational) tax for each place of business at the following rates: (1) Importers and manufacturers: $1,000 a year or fraction thereof. (2) Dealers: $500 a year or fraction thereof. (b) Reduced rates of tax for small importers and manufacturers (1) In general Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) shall be applied by substituting “$500” for “$1,000” with respect to any taxpayer the gross receipts of which (for the most recent taxable year ending before the 1st day of the taxable period to which the tax imposed by subsection (a) relates) are less than $500,000. (2) Controlled group rules All persons treated as 1 taxpayer under section 5061(e)(3) shall be treated as 1 taxpayer for purposes of paragraph (1). (3) Certain rules to apply For purposes of paragraph (1), rules similar to the rules of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of section 448(c)(3) shall apply.

Cong. Rec., 73rd Congress, 2d sess., 1934, vols. 1-155 (1873-2009) and U.S. Statutes at Large 1-123 (1789-2009).
House Committee on Ways and Means, National Firearms Act: Hearings on H.R. 9066, \”NRA President's Testimony
during Congressional Debate of the National Firearms Act of 1934,\” 73rd Cong., 2d sess., 1934 (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1934).

On January 11, 1934, \”Senate bill (S. 2258) to regulate the commerce in firearms was
read twice by its title, referred to the Committee on Commerce, and ordered to be printed in
the record.\” The published bill defined a firearm as \”a pistol, revolver, or any other firearm
capable of being concealed on the person, a sawed-off shotgun, a muffler or silencer, a
blackjack or any weapon of similar nature, brass knuckles, by whatever name known, a tear-gas pistol or pencil or ammunition for any of said weapons.\”65 The proposed legislation provided
comprehensive regulation of the importation, manufacture, sale, purchase, possession,
transfer, and shipment of all items defined as firearms. Though not mentioned in the section
that defined firearms, Section 4 added restrictions on the importation of machine guns. Section
5 provided that the bill's restrictions did not apply to departments, agencies, or agents of the
United States. And finally, in an apparent effort to ensure that previous legislation would not
be impacted, Section 10 added that nothing in this act would \”amend or repeal any provision of
the act entitled ‘An act declaring pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being
concealed on the person nonmailable (sic) and providing penalty, approved February 8, 1927.’\”
Before closing the debate on S. 2258, Senator Robinson of Arkansas commended Senator
Copeland and the other members of the select committee for \”the diligence shown in the study
that is being made…(I)f public sentiment shall be sufficiently aroused, we will witness the
termination of gang rule where it exists in the United States.\”66 There was obviously great hope
that the proposed bill would solve the problems related to criminal access to firearms.
In early February, several Senators brought forth letters from constituents that
challenged the pending firearms regulation. Edward Weil's letter from Pittsburg, PA wrote that
“the real purpose of all anti-firearms law is to disarm people and make them helpless.\” The

((65 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2nd sess., 1934, 78: 459. The bill was sponsored by Senators Copeland, Vandenburg, and
Murphy. A muffler is a type of silencer for a firearm.
66 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2nd sess., 1934, 78: 460.))

members of the Milroy Gun club in Mifflin County, PA submitted a petition to Senator Focht
challenging the value of Senate Bill 2258.67
On April 16, 1934, Karl Frederick was invited to testify before the Ways and Means
Committee of the House of Representatives regarding the proposed National Firearms Act.
Hearings were held on April 16, 18 and May 14, 15, and 16, 1934. The specific subject to be
addressed was H.R. 9066 of the 73rd Congress, Second Session which was:
\”A BILL To provide for the taxation of manufacturers, importers, and dealers
in small arms and machine guns, to tax the sale or other disposal of such
weapons, and to restrict importation and regulate interstate
Transportation thereof.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That for the purposes of this act
the term “firearm” means a pistol, revolver, shotgun having a barrel less
than sixteen inches in length, or any other firearm capable of being
concealed on the person, a muffler or silencer therefore, or a machine
Frederick was introduced to the Committee by General Reckord as \”the President of the
National Rifle Association of America. He is the vice president of the United States Revolver

((67 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2nd sess., 1934, 78: 2338. Letter to Senator Davis inserted in the Congressional Record,
68 The Krag-Jorgensen Rifle, manufactured in the U.S. as the Springfield Model 1892, was the weapon issued by the
government to the NRA. It had a thirty-inch barrel. In 1912, Springfield produced a short barrel version of this
weapon. That barrel was twenty-two inches long. A rifle with a sixteen-inch barrel would not have been
considered adequate for the purpose of hunting or target shooting.))

Association. He is a member of the Campfire Club. He is also a member of the New York Fish,
Game, and Forest League and is vice president of the New York Conservation Council, Inc.; a
former member of the Commission on Fire Arms Legislation of the National Crime
Commission.\”69 Frederick opened his testimony by supplementing the qualifications provided
in Reckord's introduction, with \”I have been giving this subject of firearms regulations study and
consideration over a period of 15 years, and the suggestions resulting from that study of mine
and the people with whom I have been associated, such as the National Conference of
Commissioners on Uniform Laws, have resulted in the adoption in many States of regulatory
provisions suggested by us.\”70
Frederick objected to several items in the proposed bill, beginning with the definition
that “machine gun” means any weapon designed to shoot automatically or semi-automatically
twelve or more shots without reloading. After much debate, Frederick was able to convince the
committee that a machine gun was any weapon that fired multiple times with one operation of
the weapon's trigger.71 Frederick's next objection to H.R. 9066 was the proposed licensing fee
of $200 a year for individual dealers. He suggested that \”an annual fee of $200 a year will
eliminate 95 percent of the dealers in pistols.\”72 In the subsequent debate, Frederick argued
that many small dealers sold four or five pistols a year and that an annual fee of $200 would
69 General Reckord's introduction of NRA president Karl Frederick, “NRA President’s Testimony,” 38. The NRA's
president's testimony was published on the internet by the gun owners association Keep and Bear Arms, (accessed April 1, 2013). Frederick's testimony is found in the site's archives
at (accessed April 14, 2013). Page numbers referenced come
from that site. The site also includes PDF presentations of the Government Printing Office publication of the
National Firearms Act hearings, including Frederick's testimony. The actual testimony in the PDF files has been
verified against the published transcript. The published transcript is referenced here as the pagination is much
easier to follow.
70 “NRA President's Testimony,” 38.
71 Ibid., 42.
72 Ibid., 43.

\”eliminate all but the largest and the wealthiest and the strongest individual dealers.\”
Throughout the debate, Frederick questioned whether the bill's purpose was to control criminal
access to guns or to act as a revenue-producing measure. He suggested to Representative
James Frear, Wisconsin, that \”the result of this provision here will be to deprive the rural
inhabitant, the inhabitant of the small town, the inhabitant of the farm, of any opportunity to
secure a weapon which he perhaps more than anyone else needs for his self-defense and
protection. I think that it would be distinctly harmful to destroy the opportunity for self-defense
of the ordinary man in the small community, where police forces are not adequate.\”73 When
questioned regarding the basis for his opinion, Frederick remarked that the burden of filling out
and submitting numerous federal documents, restriction to federally authorized dealers, and
the cost of licensing were among the \”many impediments put in his way.\” Pressed to suggest
an appropriate fee for licensing, Frederick offered that
\”I think if it were a negligible fee – and as I see it, inasmuch as I believe the
main purpose behind this bill is a police purpose and not a revenue
purpose, it seems to me that that charge should be made quite nominal; it
should be made so small that you get actually the police result that you
want, namely, the registration of the dealer and the issuance of a license
to him, but that should not be made a burden to him in point of dollars
and cents.\”74

((73 Ibid.
74 “NRA President's Testimony,” 44.))

Following frequent reference to the Uniform Firearms Law that had been adopted by
Washington, D.C., Representative John Cochran, Missouri, requested that Frederick include in
his remarks, through insertion in the record, \”a copy of the uniform firearms bill which his
association has sponsored and which has been adopted in various States?\”75 That law focused
on the licensing of dealers, restricting criminals' access to guns, and limiting the carrying of
concealed weapons. Section 5 of the Uniform Firearms Law stated that it,
\”shall not apply to marshals, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their
deputies, policemen or other duly appointed law enforcement officers, or
to members of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States or of
the National Guard of Organized Reserves when on duty or to the
regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to
purchase or receive such weapons from the United States, provided such
members are at or are going to or from their places of assembly or target
Rifle Club by-laws published by the NRA, in accordance with the direction that they had
received from the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, granted members of
civilian rifle clubs, who were officially affiliated with the NRA, authorization to purchase
weapons from the United States. Public Law 58-149 of 1905, “An Act: To promote the
efficiency of the reserve militia and to encourage rifle practice among the members thereof\”
authorized the “Secretary of War …to sell…rifles belonging to the United States for the use of

((75 Ibid., 44-47.
76 Ibid., 46-47. Emphasis added.))

rifle clubs formed under regulations prepared by the national board for the promotion of rifle
In addition to the minor details of the pending bill raised by members of the Committee,
the Chairman asked Frederick, \”how long would it take you, if it were feasible, to prepare a bill
better than you think the pending bill is, and one that would accomplish the purpose we have
in mind, for the protection of society, to reach the end the Department of Justice has in mind,
and submit it to the committee? That would be constructive, that would be practical, that
would be helpful.\”78 In response, Frederick positioned himself in support of local firearms
regulation and suggested that \”(I)n my opinion, the useful results which can be accomplished by
firearms legislation are extremely limited.\”79 When pressed further, Frederick did agree \”to
submit a written memorandum containing some concrete suggestions.\”80
Though the constitutionality of the pending bill did not receive a great deal of attention,
Representative Clement Dickinson from Missouri did ask \”whether or not this bill interferes in
any way with the right of a person to keep and bear arms or his right to be secure in his person
against unreasonable search; in other words, do you believe this bill is unconstitutional or that
it violates any constitutional provision?\”81 Frederick responded that he had not \”given study
form that point of view…but I do think it is a subject which deserves serious thought.\” Pressing
Frederick to commit to a position on the issue of constitutionality, Representative John
77 Militia Act of 1905, Public Law 149, 58th Cong., 3d sess. (March 3, 1905). See Senate Bill 5094 for congressional
debate. A discussion of the 1905 law is found in chapter 5 of this dissertation.

((78 “NRA President's Testimony,” 50.
79 Ibid.
80 Ibid., 51.
81 “NRA President's Testimony,” 53.))

McCormack from Massachusetts suggested that \”(T)he fact that you have not considered the
constitutional aspect would be pretty powerful evidence, so far as I am concerned, that you did
not think that question was involved.\”82 By responding in the negative to McCormack,
Frederick again revealed his preference for local rather than federal controls.
\”No; I would not say that, because my view has been that the United States
has no jurisdiction to attack this problem directly. I think that under the
Constitution the United States has no jurisdiction to legislate in a police
sense with respect to firearms. I think that is exclusively a matter for State
regulation and I think that the only possible way in which the United States
can legislate is through its taxing power, which is an indirect method of
approach, through its control over interstate commerce, which was
perfectly proper, and through control over importations\”.83
Following considerable debate, Frederick was asked to provide his remaining specific objections
to the bill before the Committee. After further discussion Frederick asked \”to have the privilege
of submitting some suggestions in writing.\” The Chairman responded to Frederick in the
affirmative and was followed by Representative Dickinson. The transcript of the Dickinson-
Frederick exchange is enlightening.
Mr. DICKINSON. Let me say that I have received numerous telegrams
asking me to support legislation along the lines of the recommendations of
((82 Ibid.
83 Ibid.))

the National Rifle Association. Your line of thought is in accord with the
things advocated by the National Rifle Association?
Mr. FREDERICK. I am president of the National Rifle Association and I think
I correctly voice its views.
Mr. DICKINSON. Your purpose is to submit to this committee
recommendations desired by the National Rifle Association in connection
with this bill?
Mr. FREDERICK. Among the other organizations whose views I voice.
The CHAIRMAN. When may we have your written suggestions?
Mr. FREDERICK. I will get at it this afternoon and try and let you have it as
quickly as I can. As a lawyer, I know that the drafting of legislation is an
extremely difficult job. You have to do a lot of checking, and it is a difficult
piece of work. 84

The Committee Chairman made reference to the telegrams that had been received by
Representative Dickinson that had urged him to support the NRA. The Chairman then asked
Frederick about the NRA's intentions regarding legislation, and specifically, when the NRA had
decided \”to call on Congress for legislation dealing with this subject?\”85 Frederick responded
that the Association had no interest in sponsoring a bill in Congress and that \”little of value can
((84 “NRA President's Testimony,” 58.
85 Ibid., 59.))

be accomplished by Federal legislation on this point.\”86 This exchange expanded to other
members and continued with Frederick repeatedly affirming his position that \”based upon a
rather extensive experience with this subject and study of it, very little of practical value can be
accomplished by Federal legislation on the point.\”87 Some concern was raised by
Representative James Frear from Wisconsin regarding a possible connection between the NRA
and companies involved in the manufacture of firearms and ammunition.88 Frederick did affirm
that he represented the NRA and other conservation and sportsmen's associations, that his
expenses were paid by the NRA, and that in his profession as an attorney he had no clients
engaged in ammunition or arms manufacture.89 In response to a question from Representative
John McCormack, Massachusetts, Frederick offered that,
\”The National Rifle Association is an incorporated body organized, I think, in
1871. It comprises amateur rifle shooting in the United States and it is
organized for the purpose of promoting small-arms practice; it works with
the War Department, and, in conjunction with the War Department, until
the depression, it conducted national matches for which the National
Congress appropriated $500,000. It is composed of individual members
((86 “NRA President's Testimony,” 59.
87 Ibid., 60.
88 Gilmore, “Crackshots and Patriots,” 257. Gilmore has argued that the NRA's membership expanded because of
its affiliation with arms manufacturers and that the NRA gained its strength by assuming the role of arms and
ammunition lobby in place of the manufacturing sector.
89 “NRA President's Testimony,” 62.))

and affiliate groups, that is, shooting clubs, etc. Our membership runs into
the hundreds of thousands all over the country\”.90
The Committee's hearings then moved directly to the issue of grassroots support.
Representative Knute Hill from Washington offered that he had received a telegram from the
Pacific coast signed by a number of persons urging \”all possible consideration to
recommendations proposed by the National Rifle Association in connection with H.R. 9066.\” Hill
added that \”(E)vidently they know that this hearing is taking place this morning.\”91 General
Reckord responded that he had been responsible for the distribution of information about the
hearings and that he had \”advised a number of people by wire that a hearing would be held on
this bill.\”92 The discussion continued with Reckord advising the Committee that the NRA's
membership was quite familiar with the bills currently being considered in Congress.
Representative Frank Crowther from New York added that \”(F)or 2 months or more I have been
receiving some telegrams, and a great many letters from rifle associations and gun clubs. One
comes from a large association connected with the General Electric Co…..all relate to this
general subject and refer to the McLeod bill, the Copeland bill, the Hartley bill.\”93
90 “NRA President's Testimony,” 62. It is worth repeating that in 1934 the most recognized use of the acronym
\”NRA\” was in reference to the National Recovery Administration, which was formed in June 1933 as the
implementing agency for the National Industrial Recovery Act. Frederick's comment that NRA \”membership runs
into the hundreds of thousands all over the country\” has no basis in fact as discussed in the section that addresses
NRA membership on pages 296-298 of this dissertation. Whether Frederick had been misinformed or was
purposely exaggerating cannot be determined at this time. In either case, the NRA president was clearly making a
point that the Association was much larger than its rolls would indicate.
((91 Ibid.
92 Ibid., 63.
93 Ibid. The McLeod, Copeland, and Hartley Bills had been offered during the 73rd Congress and referred to various
committees for consideration. The Copeland Bill had been the subject of Judiciary Committee hearings during
which the Justice Department had presented the administration's proposal for federal regulation of firearms.
Senator Copeland would play the principal role in the debates over the subsequent Federal Firearms Act, discussed

The following exchange between Representative McCormack and Reckord has been
referred to by historians as exemplary of the NRA's grassroots support.
The CHAIRMAN. That does not account for this stream of telegrams in the
last day or two.
General RECKORD. The only person who could possibly be responsible
would be myself and after you told me you were giving us a hearing
Mr. McCORMACK (interposing). You have contacted such as you could and
wired the members of the association?
General RECKORD. In each State, or practically every State, we have a
State rifle association, and we advised a number of those people that the
hearing would be held today. Nothing was said about Mr. Frederick or any
particular individual being present.
Mr. MCCORMACK. Did you ask them to wire in here?
General RECKORD. I do not recall the exact language of the telegram; I
would say yes, probably we did, or intimated that a wire to Mr. Lewis – I
wrote Mr. Lewis myself, because he is from the Sixth District and I
particularly requested him to be present.
Mr. McCORMACK. Did you wire the people telling them what the
recommendations were going to be to the committee?
General RECKORD. No, except that the legislation is bad.
Mr. McCORMACK. And they blindly followed it?
General RECKORD. I would not say blindly.
Mr. McCORMACK. They certainly had no information as to what the
recommendations were to be.
General RECKORD. They could not possibly have the information.
Mr. McCORMACK. They did not know when they sent the wires in what
the association was going to recommend?
General RECKORD. Except that we were going to recommend legislation.94
At the conclusion of the Hearings, Assistant Attorney General Joseph Keenan requested
an opportunity to be heard. Keenan offered that \”the view of the Department, briefly, was
\”(T)hat the Department represented all of the people of the country, in response to demands
that came in for a long period of time requesting that some effort be made to form some type
of Federal legislation to curb the sale of firearms.\” Keenan continued that, contrary to
comments by Reckord and Frederick, that they were not familiar with the proposed legislation,
he had \”discussed pretty generally the basic principles behind this legislation more than 2 1/2
months ago with General Reckord and Mr. Frederick.\” In an effort to counter the letter writing
campaign that had been inspired by Reckord, Keenan continued that,

\”We feel in the Department of Justice that we represent the people of the
country who demand that some effort be made to reach the firearms evil.
We have a tremendous amount of data and correspondence coming into
our office. We have had meetings with the International Chiefs of Police
Association of America, that represents the chiefs of police of practically
every city in the United States of any size, and they have approved of this

((94 “NRA President's Testimony,” 63. Reference to Reckord's testimony by others is addressed below.))

legislation. They have asked us for it. We have conferred with an executive
committee that came from all parts of the United States to call upon the
Attorney General and discuss it. Approximately 2 or 3 weeks ago General
Reckord came into the Department and I was occupied, and Mr. Smith, my
assistant, discussed with him the firearms legislation. At that time, it is my
understanding that General Reckord said that he would work with us if
pistols and revolvers were excluded and that Mr. Frederick would work
with us if we eliminated the registration feature. We did not see the
problem eye to eye. We think every possible opportunity has been given to
Whether or not the NRA was recognized by Congress and President Roosevelt’s
administration as a national organization with representative constituency, their presence was
obviously felt in Washington, both in the halls of Congress and the Department of Justice. The
legislative exchange that led to passage of the National Firearms Act has drawn the attention of
a variety of scholars. Historian William Kennett introduced this exchange with a comment that
both the Ways and Means and the Judicial Committees \”were visibly angry at the flood of
letters and telegrams they received, and for this the blamed the NRA.\”96 Historian Alexander
95 “Joseph E. Keenan, Assistant Attorney General's Testimony,” 64-65, (accessed April 16, 2013).
96 Kennett and Anderson, 208. This brief exchange has been used by historians to explain the NRA's role in the NFA
deliberations. For an additional discussion of the legislative exchange that led to the passage of the NFA, see
Kennett and Anderson, 209; DeConde, Gun Violence in America, 143; William J. Vizzard, \”The Impact of Agenda
Conflict on Policy Formulation and Implementation: The Case of Gun Control,\” University of Wisconsin Public
Administration 55, no. 4 (July/August 1995): 342; Josh Sugarmann, NRA: Money, Firepower & Fear (Washington,
D.C.: National Press Books, 1992), 30; Adam Winkler, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,
1st ed. (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 2011), 211.
DeConde wrote that the NRA had \”mobilized constituents who flooded Congress with letters
and telegrams denouncing the proposed legislation.\” DeConde added that following the
debates the Attorney General attempted \”to rescue the legislation by drumming up public
support and…that in emasculating his bill, the rifle association had shown itself more powerful
than the Justice Department.\”97 Carl Bakal, the author of The Right to Bear Arms, a 1966
examination of firearms ownership in the United States, followed an in-depth discussion of the
debates between various representatives and Reckord with the observation that \”strong gun
law that had been deemed 'inevitable' in February 1933 had been hacked down to a basket
case.\”98 Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor, cited Kennett and Anderson in his book
about gun control and added that the \”organization (NRA) successfully fought to have the most
'drastic' provisions of Cummings' original proposals stripped from the National Firearms Act of
1934.\”99 Gun control advocate Josh Sugarmann followed his discussion of Reckord's testimony
with a reference to the reaction of a national women's club convention to remarks by the
Assistant Attorney General on May 24, 1934 that \”Congress pass the proposed Firearms Bill,
with regulations against pistols and revolvers included in its provisions.\”100 As reported in the
New York Times, the association representing more than two million women reacted following
\”last night's address by Assistant Attorney General Joseph B. Keenan that deletion of the pistol
and revolver provision from the Firearms Bill had made the measure a ‘joke.’ ‘Women rose to
their feet, angrily denouncing the American Riflemen's Association for its alleged interference
with the measure, which Mr. Keenan had said proved greater than the influence of the

((97 DeConde, 143.
98 Bakal, 174.
99 Winkler, 211.
100 “Keenan's Testimony,” 64-65.))

Department of Justice and had resulted in pistols and revolvers being removed from the bill's
provisions.’\”101 Without question, the debate that preceded the passage of the NFA was a highwater
mark for the presence of the National Rifle Association on Capitol Hill.
Firearms legislation was addressed several times during the remainder of the Second
Session of the 73rd Congress, to include the insertion into the federal record of speeches made
by Attorney General Cummings in support of the bill.102 On June 13, 1934 the bill, as agreed to
by the Justice Department, was read to the House of Representatives for what became the final
debate. Representative Allen Treadway, Massachusetts, commented that the original bill had
been subject to considerable opposition because it had included pistols and revolvers, which
had subsequently been removed following hearings before the Ways and Means Committee.
Representative Robert Doughton, North Carolina, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee
that had received that testimony added that \”those who opposed the bill as originally
submitted…by the Justice Department, have withdrawn their opposition.\” Doughton later
acknowledged that \”protests came to the committee from some ladies' organizations
throughout the country objecting to the elimination of pistols and revolvers. The majority of
the committee were of the opinion, however, that ordinary, law-abiding citizens…should not be
compelled to register his firearms.\”103
((101 “Clubwomen Insist on Anti-pistol Bill,” New York Times, May 25, 1934.
102 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2d sess., 1934, 77: S 7187, 9317.
103 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2d sess., 1934, 77: H 11400.))

The House of Representatives recorded its first real support for the NRA in the following
comments: \”Mr. Christianson: Have we the gentleman's assurance that sportsmen's
organizations have withdrawn the opposition they formerly expressed to the measure?
Mr. Doughton: They have; and they heartily support the pending bill. The Department of
Justice has agreed to an amendment which makes the bill acceptable to sportsmen and
sportsmen's organizations.\”104
The Committee's Chairman had thereby acknowledged that the Justice Department had
accepted the recommendations of the NRA over the objections of \”ladies’ organizations
throughout the country\” along with others who opposed the Association's position. Before the
session closed, the House passed the pending bill and it was forwarded to the Senate where
amendments were added and it was returned for further consideration. After continued debate
in both houses a final bill, HR 9741, came before the House and on June 18, 1934
Representative George Blanchard from Wisconsin raised one final question to the now
amended legislation. Did the bill have the approval of \”the people who are interested in sport
and sporting arms?\” Representative Hill, a member of the Ways and Means Committee
responded, \”The National Rifle Association approves the bill.\”105
As he would later testify before the House Subcommittee on Interstate and Foreign
Commerce, General Reckord explained, “We withdrew our objections when they met our
position and deleted pistols and revolvers.”106 There were no further objections and following
((104 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2d sess., 1934, 77: H 11400.
105 Cong. Rec., 73rd Cong., 2d sess., 1934, 77: H 12555.
106 Vizzard, Shots in the Dark, 54.))

an affirmative vote by the House the bill was forwarded to President Roosevelt for his signature
on June 26, 1934.107 The National Firearms Act, the first federal firearms legislation that
attempted to restrict gun ownership, was the law of the land. That law had the full support of
the NRA because it allowed the NRA to claim support for the fight against crime; it exempted
pistols, revolvers, and rifles with barrels over 18 inches in length; and, more importantly, it did
not require NRA members to register their firearms.


Marlin, Jeffrey A., \”The National Guard, the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, and the National Rifle Association:
Public Institutions and the Rise of a Lobby for Private Gun Ownership\” (2013). History Dissertations. Paper 33.

Leave a Comment