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JFK was not the first U.S. President to shuffle off this mortal coil via an assassin’s bullet. Nor was Kennedy the most beloved President in American history. But the former Senator’s dramatic exit from the public stage was covered on live TV. It was a relatively new medium that created a new kind of instant mass bonding experience. While people who were alive at the time feel a need to ask and answer the highly personal question “where were you when Kennedy was shot?”, it was the collective experience of JFK’s assassination that elevated the event into cultural mythology. Well that and a legion of liberals—now known as progressives—who knew a good thing when they saw one. Did I just say that? I did. And I also want to say something about Kennedy and guns . . .

John. F. Kennedy was a Life Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). As JFK wrote in a letter to NRA President Franklin Orth accepting his membership, “The Association fills an important role in our national defense effort, and fosters in an active and meaningful fashion the spirit of the Minutemen.”

Notice that the attaboy refers to a collective benefit to the NRA’s activities.This was before the so-called Revolt at Cincinnati (where “hard-liners” took over the NRA) and Heller (the Supreme Court ruling affirming the individual right to keep and bear arms). Individual gun rights were flying under the radar—unless you were an African-American trying to get a carry permit in the Deep South (e.g., Martin Luther King) the urban North or mostly everywhere else.

Which was the entire point of U.S. gun control, from the earliest post-Civil War restrictions to California Governor Ronald Reagan’s legislative retaliation for a Black Panther open carry demonstration at the California state house. As President, JFK wrestled to remove Jim Crow racial discrimination laws. The idea that African-Americans should have their gun rights restored wasn’t part of the “discussion.”

Kennedy’s assassination—rather than any policy initiative—had the greatest impact on Americans’ gun rights. And not in a good way. It marked the beginning of a period of tremendous civil unrest. Public paranoia about crime in general, and gun crime in particular, escalated. The cry went up: something must be done! Just as they did after the Newtown massacre, power-hungry pols carpe’ed the diem.

In 1968, four years after the Kennedy assassination, Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Amongst other things, the Act raised the minimum age for handgun purchases to 21. It also established a national gun licensing system (a.k.a., gun registration). But that was just the beginning.

Congress introduced The Gun Control Act of 1968. It was by no means a slam-dunk. And then assassins took out Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Cities burned. Signed into law by President Johnson, the Act prohibited private interstate handgun sales, made it a federal crime to sell a gun to felons, drug users and the mentally ill; added a “sporting purposes” requirement to firearms imports and established a gun registration system (the federal firearms licensee or FFL system).

You can draw a straight line from Kennedy’s assassination to the historically recent and entirely regrettable trampling of Americans’ gun rights. No question: the grievous harm done to our firearms freedom is an inescapable if entirely unintentional part of President Kennedy’s legacy. And, of course, the legacy of a lone gunman in a brick building on a seasonable November day some 50 years ago.

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  1. What many present day liberals (i.e progressives) don’t realize, mostly because studying history is not their strong suit, is that JFK was nothing like today’s Democratic Party. He was more conservative than Romney and wanted equality for African-Americans, something the majority of his party at the time opposed. If I was ever going to put any stock in the conspiracy theories that JFK’s assassination was part of an orchestrated plot, my money would be on LBJ and the rest of the southern democrats and/or communist/socialist factions. Though he was far from perfect, I would much rather have Kennedy in the White House than the current administration.

    • “Though he was far from perfect, I would much rather have Kennedy in the White House than the current administration.”

      That’ s for sure….. O but head is the is the biggest POS that’s live in the the White House yet.color or not.

      • Bush has him beat. Getting 1000s over Americans killed over lies and having his rich military contract buddies get richer off of our hard earned cash tops anything Obama has done.

        • So far.

          But then again keep in mind that Obama never actually accomplished anything significant BEFORE he was president either. Maybe he’s just generally incompetent? We have yet to see the long-term results of Obamacare and how many people that kills.

          Oh, I forgot to mention all the Obama/Democrat cronies who have raked in BILLIONS of tax dollars from the Obama Regime. Solyndra? Detroit UAW? Bush was a piker.

        • shawn find an American History comic book. Bush is what you come up with?

          Close runners up FDR, equal Wilson. The winner as the worst – Lincoln.

          • Don’t overthink it, neiowa. Someone mentions Obama, shawn has to say “Bush did it first.” It’s as reliable a causality as you will find anywhere in this world.

    • “If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” JFK said this. I would rather be a liberal like this than where some of my fellows have strayed to today.

      • The best way to understand the world and how things work is to study history, so looking back can be very useful. Looking forward? Looking forward to what? It is completely abstract and subjective and therein lies the danger. What you define as forward progress may not be the same for someone else. There is not a government in the world that hasn’t abused “progress” for their own selfish gain. Exhibit A, National Socialism in Germany. Go take the time to read or listen to audio translation of Hitler’s speeches. Everything was about the common good, progress, and the invigoration of the people. To the weary people of Germany it sounded like a God-send. So, they traded away their freedoms and their judgement little by little in exchange for a facade of prosperity. We all no how that story ended. If you really think that the Democrats (and the Republicans for that matter) have this country’s best interests at heart, you are incredibly delusional. Most of them live in million dollar homes and enjoy an extravagant lifestyle and are out of touch with the common man, nor do they wish to associate with him. Everything they do is to grab more power and control and to manipulate society into their vision for the country. Nothing, and I mean nothing, that liberals have implemented has actually helped this country in the long run. Everything is a temporary band aid on a wound, meant to mislead the foolish and uninformed without addressing the infection or the root cause of the wound. You say you care about the rights of the people? Then stop selling their futures away by supporting people that would crush them in the blink of an eye if it meant personal gain. You say you are a proud liberal without the slightest understanding of how true liberalism manifests itself today among the Statist Elite. It stands for none of the precepts that you listed and they have played you for a fool, laughing at your ignorance.

        • I’m not talking Democrats and Republicans here. They’re just two sides of the same counterfeit coin. The liberalism in that quote is the same kind of mindset that the Founding Fathers had. They fit that statement to a T. They definitely looked forward — they looked far enough forward that I’m tempted to describe it as a divine miracle, and I don’t even believe in God. They’re the ultimate definition of what it used to mean to be liberal-minded before the leftist con artists got hold of the term and twisted it into fascist-minded progressivism.

      • The problem is… that “liberals” are Democrats – for whatever reason. There is a reason why they are called Democrats, and the opposition are called Republicans. Most if not all have no idea what this means. Simply said, Democrats are for a Democracy type of government, while Republicans are for a Republic type pf government. Again, most people cannot tell you what the difference is, after all, it’s all a democracy right?

        Not! Dead wrong. Our founding fathers new full well that a democracy type of government is the same thing as having a Despot King. Why? because a Democracy is rule by a majority, at the expense of the individual. Our founding fathers knew that was wrong from the get go and that all democracies in the past had failed for just that reason – “majority against man”. Why do you think we have a bill of rights? If you want to read about this there is a site with some fabulous “cliff notes” on how this works. Read it here and you will understand….

        Hope this helps :).

      • Turns out that “conservatives'” share every ideal you just listed. The only difference is we don’t reach into YOUR pocket to buy them for ourselves and everyone else. We simply expect for everyone to pay their own way to get ahead, either in cash or hard work. Liberals prefer to literally steal to get ahead.

      • Don’t confuse “classical liberalism” (Conservative-Libertarian) with “neo liberalism” (aka statist Progressives)

  2. RFK got killed in there too. I remember mail order guns without needing any license.

    You could also make the argument that the 68gca saved gun ownership in America. Hunters were the great majority of gun owners then. As a country we were shifting from rural to urban at a fast rate. Hunting was dying out. Few people owned any guns other than traditional hunting types. If a person owned a gun strictly for self defense it was likely a revolver. Lawful concealed carry was practically unknown in most of the nation.

    Prior to 1975 I had never seen an AR type rifle owned by a civilian. The 68 gca was a wakeup call and call to arms for Americans that had nearly let their rights go by default.

    It’s just my guess, but without the 68 gca I doubt we would have a full 25% of the gun owners we have today. And most of those would be what TTAG refers to as fudds.

    • Perversely, I have to agree.

      I’ve always held that you should own at keast one gun on general principles alone, but to that I now add that you should always own at least one fightin’ gun. On general principles.


    • I think this is an important observation. People had to lose some of what they had to wake them up to what they’d already lost, and what they had left to lose.

  3. The cause and effect of small, medium, or large events in our recent history on private firearms ownership seems so random at times. Diabolical at others.
    The chain of events after the assassinations are glaring examples.

    This is why it is so very important for the POTG to be ever vigilant. To never rest.

    There is no shame in fighting/voicing opinions against false flags like the mda/staples thing.
    We must fight. At every bend, turn, event, or opportunity.
    Course, this is just my opinion, and if could be wrong.


    Move your head in the same direction Kennedy’s head moved after he was shot, then ask yourself….Where did that bullet come from?

    • Not that it will convince anyone, but to attempt a LOGICAL evaluation of this:

      The FMJ round nose bullet hit the middle/right/rear of JFK’s head and as an intact projectile met little resistance to penetration of the skull. Once inside the skull the energy of the bullet created pressure inside the skull which resulted in the front right portion exploding outward to the right front. Any rudimentary knowledge of physics will show that the force from this escaping pressure MUST force the unsupported head to the left and rear. I believe this is referred to as Newton’s Third Law – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

      Only if the skull were so solid as to be nearly impervious to penetration by the original bullet strike would all of the energy of that bullet force the head to move away from the origin point of the bullet’s impact.

      Sorry, I sometimes have a hard time with the whole Oswald single gunman thing as well, but this particular image does NOT prove a second gunman to the front. I have also seen re-enactments of the shooting, with a Manlicher-Carcano, same distance and trajectory, against a cadaver skull filled with colored gel, and the results are identical to the film. The kill shot almost certainly came from the rear and above.

  5. OMG! The president was killed with a bolt action rifle, the same used by hunters and sportsmen across the country. They must be banned! Think of the children! And the Presidents!

  6. I was almost 16 when that little sh1t killed JFK. I was an officer of the Young Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom and Young Conservatives. When JFK ran against Nixon (‘memba him?), I debated for Nixon. Well, nobody’s perfect. My right-wing credentials were and remain impeccable, and I still liked JFK.

    Kennedy won the election in ’60 by being better looking and further to the right than Nixon, who was really a statist in disguise. On foreign policy, Kennedy was a full-blown thermonuclear hawk. If JFK was pro-gun, he was a Fudd, but then again, so was the NRA. And he was the most popular President in the recorded history of popularity polls.

    JFK got dead and the country got Lyndon Johnson and mountains of bodies, including my friends, shipped home from Vietnam. We got gun control, Watergate and Jimmy Carter. It’s not hard to tell which or what from that list was worse for America. I’m also on solid ground if I espouse the belief that the US would have been a better place if that little sh1t hadn’t killed our President.

  7. Why do I never see a discussion about just how hard it is to hit a moving target, especially from the distances talked about in this shooting?

    • The distance wasn’t that great. the target was moving slowly and at a good angle to take the shot. Unlike a deer that can jump twist and change directions the limo was on a fixed course and not evading.

      In my youth it would have been a fairly simple shot.

    • I think the ND by Hickey is a viable theory. It explains some things that are questionable like shots 2-3 being between .5 to 1 second apart, two cases being next to each other and the third several feet away, the shots effect on JFK’s head, why if it was a thick FMJ bullet that hit the head why it didn’t continue on and hit the car or maybe even the driver?

      I think it’s possible LHO fired two shots at JFK with the first a miss and the second hitting him in the back.

      Whatever actually happened at Dealey Plaza Oswald was a Marxist who wanted to leave the US. He had just enough money with him to buy a ticket to Mexico City. He believed Cuba would welcome him after killing Kennedy.

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