Welcome to the complicated and turbulent history of gun control in America. Included as a fundamental right in the Constitution, firearms have played a pivotal role in shaping US history and culture since the colonial period. Federal gun-control laws were largely nonexistent until well into the Twentieth Century, most of them enacted in response to strings of notorious crimes. But in the last two decades, gun-control has emerged as one of the most explosive and divisive issues in American politics, particularly after a recent slate of horrific mass shootings. Scroll through the timeline to learn more about the ongoing fiery debate over the role firearms should play in our society.


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More on the gun control debate

Scroll through this interactive resource, produced by the Associated Press, for more on the players, the terminology and public opinion.


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