A review of the underlying reports in the exchanged discussed in posts linked here, tends to show that differences in state gun laws have an inconclusive, and second or third order (at best) impact on crime rates.
Beyond the scope of these reports, the guns laws that appear to be most effective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals are those that ban people, other than law enforcement, the military and certain collectors, from owning entire classes of weapons, such as rocket launchers and machine guns (in the U.S.), and handguns (in countries such as Japan and the U.K.)
Just a classification, machine gun ownership isn't banned in the United States. Fully automatic weapons manufactured before 1986 can be legally bought and sold, they are just difficult to find, expensive to purchase, and require greater paperwork. And they were already rare before the 1986 restriction was placed into effect.
Not really. Fully automatic firearms have been extremely heavily regulated since The National Firearms Act of 1934 was approved by Congress (and it was subsequently upheld against Second Amendment challenge).
Very light national regulation of firearms sales (including a ban on the sale of firearms to felons) came in 1938 with The Federal Firearms Act of 1938. The ban on firearm sales to particular unqualified people was expanded by The Gun Control Act of 1968. The regulatory function is transferred to the ATF in 1972.
The major gun control laws passed in 1986 were the Armed Career Criminal Act (Public Law 99-570) increases penalties for possession of firearms by persons not qualified to own them under the Gun Control Act of 1986; the Firearms Owners Protection Act (Public Law 99-308) relaxes some restrictions on gun and ammunition sales and establishes mandatory penalties for use of firearms during the commission of a crime; and the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (Public Law 99-408) bans possession of "cop killer" bullets capable of penetrating bulletproof clothing."
But all of that doesn't detract from the fact that as a class, fully automatic weapons are not banned, which was my original point. Certainly, specific classes of people are banned from owning all firearms, but that particular class of weapons has never been systematically banned. The only class-wide ban is not on the action, it is on the year of manufacture. Although they have been effectively banned by the heavy regulation of the NFA.
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