WASHINGTON — Few presidents in modern times have been as interested in gun control as Richard Nixon, of all people. He proposed ridding the market of Saturday night specials, contemplated banning handguns altogether and refused to pander to gun owners by feigning interest in their weapons.
Several previously unreported Oval Office recordings and White House memos from the Nixon years show a conservative president who at times appeared willing to take on the National Rifle Association.
“I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house," Nixon said in a taped conversation with aides. “The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth." He laced his comments with obscenities, as was typical.
Nixon made his remarks in the Oval Office on May 16, 1972, the day after a would-be assassin shot and paralyzed segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. Nixon never publicly called for a handgun ban. Instead, he urged Congress to pass more modest legislation.
Read more about the recordings at http://wapo.st/Xzxy8b.