Debunking The Myths Surrounding Ronald Reagan And Gun Rights


“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

~Ronald Reagan, at his birthday celebration in 1989.

Having grown up in Texas, I have a lot of friends who are gun owners – which is fine by me.  However, in the midst of all the recent controversy surrounding all the recent shootings and gun control, a few of them have gotten a bit out of hand – particularly on Facebook.

Although gun rights and gun control are not necessarily attached to liberal or conservative values or ideologies, nearly all of my friends are right-wingers who are speaking out in favor of the Second Amendment and unrestrained gun rights.

With all due respect (and true to form) it is incredible the lengths they will go in distorting the truth (or outright lying) to support their ever weakening position in light of recent polls is incredible.

Last week I saw the following meme on a friend’s wall and wanted to take a moment to clarify the facts (although based on past experience with this individual, I have no hopes he will bother reading this article).

Ronald Reagan Gun Myth Debunked

Really now?!?

As governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act, which prohibited the carrying of firearms on your person, in your vehicle, and in any public place or on the street, and he also signed off on a 15-day waiting period for firearm purchases. “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons,” Reagan said at the time, according to

In 1986 as president, he signed into law the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which “banned ownership of any fully automatic rifles that were not already registered on the day the law was signed.”

After leaving the presidency, he supported the passage of the Brady bill that established by federal law a nationwide, uniform standard of a 7-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns to enable background checks on prospective buyers.

In 1991 Reagan wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times stating his support for the Brady Bill and noted that if the Brady Bill had been in effect earlier, he never would have been shot. He also urged then President H.W. Bush to drop his opposition to the bill and lobbied other members of Congress to support the bill.

In 1994 Reagan wrote to Congress urging them to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons.

To summarize:

  • As Gov. of California, Reagan signed the Mulford Act which prohibited the carrying of firearms on your person, in your vehicle and in any public place.
  • As Gov. of Cal. Reagan signed off on a 15-day waiting period for guns.
  • As president he signed into law a ban on ownership of fully automatic rifles.
  • After leaving the presidency he supported the Brady Bill which provided for a 7-day waiting period for guns.
  • In 1994 he wrote Congress supporting a ban on assault rifles.

Below is recently discovered video footage from the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in March of 1981.

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