Howell Raines gun laws
Howell Raines (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel)
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The quote of the day is presented by

Former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines was forced out in disgrace back in 2003 for publishing the fakest of fake news. Now, he’s interrupted his retirement to take to the pages of the august Washington Post to indulge his Fudd-ish sensibilities. Given his vast experience as a hunter and gun owner, Raines wants to offer up a solution for America’s supposed “gun violence” crisis.

Raines’ brainstorm is…to go back to the gun laws of the 1960s. But we’re pretty sure that Raines hasn’t done his homework here.

Is he really proposing the end of Form 4473s? Does he want actual machine guns to be back in production and available as easily as suppressors are now? Is Raines in favor dismantling the FBI’s NICS background check system? Does he envision mail order (now internet-purchased) firearms delivered direct to your door by the Big Brown Truck?

It seems Mr. Raines is confusing his sepia-toned, good-old-days memories of the guns of his youth with the laws that regulated them (or didn’t). And no one at the Washington Post knows enough about guns or gun laws to raise the point before running the op-ed.

But that’s OK…where do we sign up?

As a hunter who has owned firearms since adolescence without breaking any laws or feeling under-gunned, I think I am equipped to offer a modest proposal that could produce a safer America and also break the maniacal hold of the National Rifle Association on the nation’s recreational shooters, not to mention Congress.

My proposal is simply that we revert to the gun laws that prevailed in the United States around 1960. From a public-safety standpoint, that was far from a perfect world. The cheap revolvers called “Saturday night specials” ruled the night in many cities. Loopholes as to the sale and registration of long arms allowed the importation of the mail-order rifle that Lee Harvey Oswald used to kill President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Yet law-abiding hunters and target shooters had all the weapons and firepower they needed and were not in a state of constant turmoil over state and federal laws that restricted most shotguns to three rounds and most semiautomatic rifles and handguns to fewer than 20 rounds. American gun and ammunition manufacturers such as Remington, Winchester and Colt were thriving. Nobody argued that a six-shot revolver was inadequate for home-protection emergencies. Deer and elk hunters who used larger caliber rifles felt amply equipped with standard magazines of a half-dozen or so shells.

– Howell Raines in To fix our gun crisis, we should revert back to ’60s gun laws thousands of new and used guns at great prices

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      • Seriously, why can’t I own a sawn-off shotgun? If anything, it’s a helluva lot less effective than a regular shotgun.

        • “Seriously, why can’t I own a sawn-off shotgun?”

          “Writing for the unanimous Court, Justice James Clark McReynolds reasoned that because possessing a sawed-off double barrel shotgun does not have a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, the Second Amendment does not protect the possession of such an instrument.”

          In other words, the supreme court unanimously decided that sawed off shotguns served no military purpose and therefore were not protected arms under the second amendment….. wait…. WTF!?!?!

        • You can.
          It’s called a ‘short barreled shotgun’ (SBS for short) and all it takes is a $200 tax stamp and a hacksaw.

        • California Richard:That should be quoted in a case questioning the legality of full auto bans and actually goes with my mindset that an M4 is actually more protected than a double barreled shotgun is.

        • @california, I being a member of the unorganized militia am the one to determine what has valid military applications and what does not. I determine that all tools should be available to the militia and the court has its head up its ass.

          Shall not be infringed means exactly that, all tools are available to citizens of the united states.

        • The Supremes didn’t rule that a SBS had no military purpose. They ruled that it wasn’t within their judicial notice (personal knowledge) since there was no representation or case presented on the Miller side. This seems ripe for a revisit since the M26 MASS is an issued SBS, M4/M16/M3/M2/M14/M1928 are issued machine guns, etc.

      • @Boy: Don’t be greedy! You should be satisfied; even proud! to do your duty to pay excise taxes to support our Federal government.
        $200 to pay and a year to wait is a miniscule price to pay to satisfy the standard of “necessary”. All you REALLY need is the right to make a registered Drop-In Auto Sear and fine-tune it so that it works reliably.

        If you can make a single (or a couple) R-DIAS that works reliably wouldn’t you be able to make as many as might be required to suppress insurrections and repel invasions when (and IF) they should occur?

        Imagine, for illustration, that the first wave of troops of the Imperial Japanese Army were landing on the beaches of California. Those militiamen with R-DIAS’s would have mustered at the cliffs overlooking the beaches. Meanwhile, Western Union would have alerted militiamen with machine tools in the interior to get to their mills and grind-out as many well-regulated (fit for service) DIAS’s as their fellow militiamen would require to put a rifled barrel behind every blade of grass.

        Can’t you think in terms of what is NECESSARY to the security of a free state? Will you eschew a regimen SUFFICIENT to a well-regulated militia while waiting – hold your breath until the nation turns blue – for your personal opinion of what would satisfy your ideal?

        We PotG must think in terms of what is NECESSARY and sufficient to the security of a free state; not the Utopia of our dreams.

      • How about recreating and enforcing “Jim Crow” firearm laws in somewhere such as Chicago or Baltimore?

        • Those would be the same firearm restrictions that most states have either been repealing or updating though. The difference was that prosecutors wouldn’t charge whites under them, juries wouldn’t convict whites under them, and judges wouldn’t punish whites significantly even if they were charged and convicted. In the words of one Jim Crow era Texas judge, “the [gun] law was never meant to apply to a white man.”

          The data are abundantly clear though. Ban all guns and then selectively arrest and prosecute blacks and hispanics under the ban and you’ll all but eliminate crime involving firearms. But you’ll also get a lot of innocent blacks and hispanics in that dragnet (you might as well just go full on pre-crime and arrest anyone with too many demographic similarities to the average criminal,) and open the door to extensive future abuse by creeping government bureaucracies (which is what happened with the first set of “gun control” laws — they were in truth “black control” until the day they became “citizen control”.) All this to say nothing of how two wrongs don’t make a right, which in this case are laws making criminals of otherwise law abiding citizens and the applying the law unequally.

          Even if you’re a flaming racist, you don’t want the old gun bans and racist criminal justice system back, because that’s how we ended up with carrying handguns being banned in so many states in the first place. Apparently when it comes to government, if you give a mouse a cookie it turns into a giant snake and tries to strangle you until you get mad and replace a bunch of its brain with bits that listen when you tell it to stop (boy, that metaphor sure broke down fast.) Anyway, point is that the potential for abuse in a law is always a concern even if you like the way it’s being abused at the time. Government is an organization and an apparatus, not a friend. It will always turn on you if it becomes expedient to do so, and we’ve seen it do so with this very tool before.

    • I would say 1960 would be a good start although 1860 wouldn’t be bad either. We can skip the army/navy laws. I don’t think anyone wants to CC a cap and ball pistol.

    • While there were some earlier, the cartridge revolvers didn’t really take off until 1873 with the Colt SA and Remington. I do like the cap and ball, still fire them from time to time, but prefer the modern ‘smokeless’ ammo in cartridges.

      It could reduce crime though. I wonder how many of Chicago’s gang bangers could actually load an 1858 Remington or an 1860 Colt. Pouring powder in a moving vehicle. This could get funny.

    • He just may,after all he reeks Fudd and with his past record he’s proven himself not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  1. He has culture and market confused with laws, but even without the internet, the modern stuff was known to gun enthusiasts back then. If you look at Guns Magazines articles from the 60s. full autos and modern stuff was advertised and sometimes reviewed. Anyone who couldn’t afford the fancy stuff could still get a surplus or repro M1 Carbine.

    There was no pro-gun “paranoia” back then because there wasn’t a visible effort to dismantle the Second Amendment.

  2. 1860s federal gun laws would suit me right down to the ground. THERE WEREN’T ANY. We punished evildoers, not inanimate objects.

  3. Excuse me. but you mentioned “machine guns to be back in production and available as easily as suppressors are now.” Didn’t the laws about machine guns get passed in the 1930s?

    • Since 1934 machine guns had to be registered. Since 1986 the registry has been closed, meaning no new machine guns could be manufactured for civilian use.

    • The National Firearms Act, NFA, of 1934 imposed a $200 tax on machine guns, suppressors, short barreled rifles and shotguns.

      The Hughes Amendment to the Firearms Owners Protection Act, FOPA, of 1986 capped the number of machine guns in private ownership at around 150,000 by making it illegal to manufacture new machine guns for private ownership after May 19,1986.

  4. We can go back but not before 1911. I ain’t giving those up. But I do remember the 1960s. Roses (that was a chain of Five and Dime stores for you young folks) carried used WWII bolt action rifles. At twelve years old you could stop at the local hardware store and pick up a box of 22LR. Of course, it wasn’t like they didn’t know you or your parents. Most of the pickup trucks had either shot guns or rifles in the rear window, unlocked parked outside the local dinner. And as a youth, I couldn’t wait to get into high school and get on the shooting team. That was an incentive to keep the grades up.

    Yeah, I could see rolling things back a bit.

  5. So kids can start mounting their rifles in their trucks and bring them to school without anyone freaking out?

    • I’m a 90’s kid (high school era) and remember seeing rifles hung up in EVERY pick truck cab, from teachers to students, because hunters wanted to grab some woods time before school started. Funny with all that ammo and firepower that NOBODY ever got shot or threatened. Hmmmmm.

      • I’m an ’80s kid, having grown up in SoCal, and if we ever had that luxury, it was well before my time. I recall being stopped by a school official when I was only 12 and carrying an inert replica of a rifle intended for ROTC drill practice. Was told I couldn’t bring it onto school grounds. That was way, way before the term “active shooter” was even a thing.

        • Thanks for the link. ToR is the bomb! It downloaded in less than a minute, and installed in about two more. Works like a charm. I still have to use a different email address also. Banned in three different ways! They “must think I’m a reallll dangerous man.” -John Wayne in “Big Jake”
          Just call me Voldamort, the one who must not be named…

  6. At the Federal level, July 26, 1934 was the effective date of the National Firearms Act. It was enacted 30 days before. So go back to June 25, 1934 and we’d be on the right track.

  7. Howell Raines was not fired over “fake news”. He was fired for being a lousy manager who bullied his workers. Among many other faults, he failed to act when clearly warned that reporter Jayson Blair was faking his work, stealing stories from other reporters and news outlets and presenting them as his own and even claiming in-person (not over the phone) out of state interviews when he never left NYC.

    Jayson Blair was the fake news guy.

    Howell Raines was the failed executive.

    • And now Howell Raines is apparently senile, or maybe just not that intelligent. It doesn’t matter when you preach to the choir. They’ll lift up any well known idiot that agrees with them.

  8. It would be great to return to teach kids about responsible gun use and target practice in school; I would welcome watching a bunch of pre-teens boarding the school bus backpack and .22 in hand.

    Lets go back to the 1960 immigration policies as well.

  9. Sounds good, would likely solve our public health problem. The US spends more money on medical/pharmaceutical than the rest of the industrialized world combined, and the results are in…USA now has a higher 1st day death rate than all the other industrialized countries COMBINED, highest first year death rate of all industrialized countries, and a 70% higher chance of children not reaching adulthood than 20 of the other richest countries in the world. Maybe this also helps explain why they’re focusing on gun control.

    • Healthcare in our country is a mess, this is true. The part of that which relates to mass murder is the mental health system, or lack thereof.

      FBI SAIC Combs at the end of the police news conference yesterday said the most important points. This Odessa shooter was on a long spiral down into rage and violence. He did not simply “SNAP!”.

      • The percentage of chronically ill children rose from 12.8% in the 1980’s to 54% today. The childhood vaccine schedule has tripled in the same time frame.

        • Take a walk around any older cemetery in America. Rows and rows of kids headstones where the kids didn’t live past 5. Starting about 1940 you will see that changes. Fewer small kids dying. dramatically fewer.

          If you can do your own personal survey of a couple of these graveyards and not see the obvious then you are as clueless as joe biden.

          Of course you’re not really an anti vaxxer. We’ve already established that. You’re a paid shill for big pharma to make anti vaxxers look worse than they are.

        • Correlation does not equal causation. By the time vaccines are being used, the mortality rate for nearly all infectious disease we vaccinated for(and for several there was no vaccine for) had already declined to almost Zero. But vaccines try to take the credit for the decline through….correlation.

        • 99.9% drop in measles case fatality in the 100-120 years preceding the measles vaccine. But jwm and company want you to keep believing pharmaceutical marketing fairly tales

        • People used to die for many, many things that no longer kill us. Vaccines had nothing to do with this, as 16V pointed out. Correlation does not mean causation, and there were many variables including clean water, improved plumbing, improved living conditions and access to much better nutrition that caused the decline of infectious disease. By the time Vaccines were used en masse, the death rates for all the infections we used vaccines for, as well those infections we didn’t have vaccines for, had shown enormous declines. This has already been pointed out. What’s your fascination with headstones? Creepy.

        • Always entertaining when someone tries to justify one of the greatest declines of public health in recorded history. Sickest generation of children in the USA. Ever.

        • My mother had polio. I didn t because they had a vaccine. I had measles and my child didnt because they have a vaccine.
          Life is better without these illnesses.
          So stick your anti vax crap where the sun doesn’t shine.

    • we have a higher first day death rate because we count large numbers of babies as being born that most European countries write up as stillborn.

      • Abortion rates are pretty high in those so called first world countries. Downs kids don’t stand a chance over there. Socialized medicine likes killing the unborn because they think it saves a buck. Now they have shrinking population problems but the invading people will take up.the slack.

        • Laughing out loud! Always a hoot when someone pipes in With their opinion when data is requested. Sit down.

    • Mine was a Ruger 10-22. I wanted the Nylon 66 but the gun shop said they were in short supply, and the Ruger was second on my list and it was in stock. Paid for with my own money, but of course Mom did the paperwork. Still have that gun, I’m an old guy now and it is still my favorite!

  10. It could almost be a Twilight Zone episode. This guy invents time travel, and sick of mass shootings, he decides to go back to the 60s “when everyone was happy with revolvers and hunting rifles.” He goes back, and sees people walking around a pretty college campus on a hot day. We follow him as he walks over to a bench where someone has left a newspaper. He picks it up to look, and it reads August 1, 1966 with “Austin American-Statesman” at the top. And the camera reverses over his shoulder to show the tower of the Main Building at the University of Texas in the distance and faint pops are heard while everyone goes about their day.

    • The 60s. Back when dorm rooms were like closets instead of luxury apartments, and students could pay their own way through school with a part time job. And armed citizens weren’t mocked.

  11. LOL, it wasn’t the laws. It was the demographics of America in the 1960s. Literally the last halcyon decade before America decided to commit multicultural suicide.

    • Or proto-Progressives decided the USA needed to be punished over the Vietnam War and for standing up to Communism.

      The peaceniks refused the understand the people on the other side didn’t have any choice in the matter and refusing a call up would result either a long time in the gulag or execution for treason.

  12. I suppose this failed old fart would include colored folks and Meh-he-cans who were discriminated against oh pretty much everywhere in 1960…I would like a machine gun😄

      • Harold Raines is a southerner. I don’t recall which state. Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, I don’t remember. But he publicly said during the Jason Blair Fiasco that he was a white Southerner who believed in giving this black man more and more chances. In order to make up for his and others racist past

        To the point of wrecking the reputation of the New York Times. Harold Raines is an example of what President Bush called white people who have a soft bigotry of low expectations for black people.

        Because Harold Raines, a self hating white Liberal, could never hold a black person accountable for wrongdoing.

  13. He just made our point for us…that the proliferation of restrictive federal gun laws has done little, if anything, to curb ‘gun violence.’

    Tuck this little gem away to use in future debates….

  14. Why the f**k isn’t TTAG keeping us posted on Texas Gov Abbott’s creeping support for red flag laws ? What the hell man ! This isn’t news worthy ?

  15. I say we go back to the 1950’s, culture-wise. You know, back before the government-forced breakdown of the traditional family, and back when people were made to be responsible for the results of their actions. Back when mom and dad stayed together for the sake of the children they produced, even if they weren’t exactly “happy” with each other (because, you know, once you make the decision to produce a child, your happiness isn’t the priority any longer). That would solve a lot of the problems we have these days, along with these mass shooting incidents.

    • Bryan1980,

      Good luck with that.

      I certainly welcome the sentiment. Unfortunately, most Millenials today have zero interest in marrying much less having children. (A recent poll of Millenials indicated that only 31% of Millenials valued having children.)

      Some VERY dark times are ahead of our nation.

      • There was a bit of good news in your reply; I’m actually okay that most of them are deciding not to reproduce!

        I agree, it’s a long shot at best, but it’s not easy to actually solve a problem, which isn’t what the left wants to do, anyways. The problem is just a means to an end for them.

      • Well, they’re being taught that the purpose in life is to make more money, or at least more than those men that try to hold them back! You can’t do that with kids weighing you down. As it turns out, single women that aren’t married and haven’t had children tend to earn more than men. And we all know the true meaning of life and happiness is keeping up with the Instagram/facebook Joneses, not something as meaningless as having a family! Consumerism is the priority.

        • A horrible fate for most women. Sacrificing happiness on the altar of uncaring consumerism. 🙁 I see this happening to women in my family and it’s heat breaking.

        • You hit the nail on the head. Feminism was designed to destroy the traditional family and to help the depopulation agenda. Women that fall for this are suckers, and far too many women learn this lesson way too late.

    • There is no going back. I am speaking in generalities, #not all. The older generations are trying hold on to a faded vision of glory squandered on flawed premises. They and their peers enjoyed an homogeneous “American” culture growing up. The American dream was viable and tangible. They see the current downward trend in American identity as a temporary losing streak and don’t understand it’s a permanent replacement.
      The younger generations realize there is no bright future, their attitude is dark because they have no conception of time when their culture was the majority. At best, reality is a race to the bottom in a direct conflict where some groups are allowed to collectivize but others aren’t. At worst, many are living the nightmare of realizing their identity has been predetermined to be deplorable in a society empowered to destroy them with drugs and surgery. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  16. I’ll sign on for that, let’s go! 1960s Laws and 2019 technologies. The AR 15 was developed in the late 50s and design sold to Colt in 1959, the AK 47has been around since 1947, so they were around when the laws were written.

    I would prefer they just follow the 2A Period!

  17. Has he been examined for dementia lately? He sounds like Senator Toomey who wants a law to keep online dealers from selling guns without a background check. Apparently he has tried to buy one online or read the 2018 report by the Government Accountability Office about the difficulty of buying a gun online and the requirements insisted upon by the dealers up to and including the signed copy of an FFL in the buyer’s area to which the gun would be delivered so the check could be done. And he apparently thought dealers sold at gun shows without checks. I’ve had private sellers insist the check be run and had an arrangement with an FFL holder for that purpose. Hell, if the left actually knew what the current laws are they might insist on enforcement.

  18. Is he aware that, in the 60’s, you could buy a Lahti anti-tank rifle for about $100? With no paperwork? I’m all for that!

  19. Ya , I’m all for the 60’s laws revival,,,
    Back then we would actually execute the evil doers that took the lives of the innocent’s, then came the bleeding hearts & said no more,,,
    But of course most of them had relatives or lovers in jail,, then the schools went off the tracks & started to indoctrinate kids instead of teaching kids.
    Bring back Eddy Eagle…

  20. There is only one gun law. The entire conversation ended in 1791. Everything after that IS infringement.
    US v. Miller (1939) basically negates the entire NFA. Yet no one has bothered to argue it properly. It is not hard to prove in court that ALL weapons have use and efficacy to the military and are thus, as opined in Miller unanimously, protected for the People.
    All of these previous comments signify the commenters have already given up rights and thus will likely give up more. Pathetic.

  21. Yes I would love to go back to 1960 when I could get a Boys Anti-Tank Rifle delivered to my house. And not the one that’s been modified for a 50 caliber round but the original one with exploding armor-piercing ammunition. Also I’d like to be able to receive my machine guns through the mail as well.

    This way no one in the government at any level of government, would know what weapons I have , or how many of them I have. Let’s take a trip to that Irwin Allen “Time Tunnel”.

  22. Just curious. How many of the “mass shootings” over the years have taken place in jurisdictions that voted for Shillery Clinton in the last general election?

  23. I’d prefer going back to the Coolidge years, but this is common sense compromise on gun laws I can get behind!

  24. I’ve tried to post multiple replies to pg2 and vlad the last couple of days under my jwm handle only to have them vanish.

    What am I to make of this. Maybe Knute/Ken was right?

  25. Has this imbecile ever heard of the M-1 carbine that was the rifle of choice for cop killers back in the 1960s?

    They were so ubiquitous that they were once manufactured by the US Postal Meter company.

  26. 1860 is fine, but really lets got back to 1791. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” That one seems immanently clear, and gets rid of the need for any other laws.

  27. I’m okay with this idea. After all, I feel cheated that I was not able to order a WW2 surplus Swiss Solothurn 20mm anti-tank rifle out of the back of a magazine like my father could when he was a boy, assuming that the check cleared.

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