Gerald Ford on Gun Control

President of the U.S., 1974-1977; Republican Rep. (MI)


Gun registration does not reduce crime; focus on misuse

Q: Twice you have been the intended victim of would-be assassins using handguns, yet you remain a steadfast opponent of substantive handgun control. Why?

FORD: The record of gun control, whether it's in one city or another or in some States does not show that the registration of a gun, handgun, or the registration of the gun owner has in any way whatsoever decreased the crime rate or the use of that gun in the committing of a crime. The record just doesn't prove that such legislation or action by a local city council is effective. What we have to do--and this is the crux of the matter--is to make it very difficult for a person who uses a gun in the commission of a crime to stay out of jail. I don't believe in the registration of handguns or the registration of the handgun owner. That has not proven to be effective. And, therefore, the better way is to go after the criminal, the individual who commits a crime in the possession of a gun and uses that gun for a part of his criminal activity.

Source: The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Oct 22, 1976

500 new federal agents to help stop sale & use of handguns

A major threat to every American's person and property is the criminal carrying a handgun. The way to cut down on the criminal use of guns is not to take guns away from the law-abiding citizen, but to impose mandatory sentences for crimes in which a gun is used, make it harder to obtain cheap guns for criminal purposes, and concentrate gun control enforcement in high crime areas.

My budget recommends 500 additional Federal agents in the 11 largest metropolitan high-crime areas to help local authorities stop criminals from selling and using handguns.

Source: Pres. Ford's 1976 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 19, 1976

Ban Saturday Night Specials, but no regulations nor licenses

I had always opposed federal registration of guns or the licensing of gun owners, and as President, I hadn't changed my views. At the same time, I recognized that handguns had played a key role in the increase of violent crime. Not all handguns-just those that hadn't been designed for sporting purposes. I asked Congress to ban the manufacture and sale of these "Saturday night specials."
Source: A Time To Heal, by Gerald Ford, p.292 , Jun 19, 1975

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Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
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George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022