"If the history of gun laws in America has any relevance to the definition of modern gun rights — and the Supreme Court in its Second Amendment rulings has said it does — then virtually no gun laws, including outright bans, are beyond the pale. While gun ownership is as old as America, so are gun laws. Early gun laws restricted native Americans, slaves, indentured servants, vagrants, non-Protestants, those who refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the government, felons and foreigners from owning or possessing guns, and placed numerous restrictions on the recreational use of them. Early laws also regulated the manufacture, inspection and sale of firearms, as well as placing restrictions on gun storage and discharge. Others prohibited not only the firing of guns in or near towns, but firing after dark, on Sundays, in public places, near roads or while under the influence of alcohol. As weapons became more prolific in the 19th century, state regulations also proliferated, commonly criminalizing not only the carrying of firearms, but the mere brandishing or display of guns, such as a law against exhibiting “the said deadly weapons in a rude, angry or threatening manner.” Other laws made it a crime to “draw or threaten to use” a firearm. After the Civil War, six states banned handguns outright, and one state, Wyoming, banned all firearms from “any city, town or village.” In the early 20th century, most states banned fully automatic weapons. And as if anticipating the current, much-disputed semi-automatic assault weapons restrictions, at least seven states in the 1920s and early 1930s banned semi-automatic weapons entirely, as well as certain gun accessories like silencers and — you guessed it — large-capacity bullet magazines. Finally, consider this state law: “every person within the state … who owns or has in his possession any fire arms or weapons shall make a full, true and complete verified report … to the sheriff of the county in which such person lives, of all fire arms and weapons which are owned or possessed by him or her or are in his or her control, and on sale or transfer into the possession of any other person such person shall immediately forward to the sheriff of the County in which such person lives the name and address of that purchaser and person into whose possession or control such fire arm or weapon was delivered … For the purpose of this Act a fire arm or weapon shall be deemed to be any revolver, pistol, shot gun, rifle.” While this might read like a tough new state gun law, it was “An Act providing for the registration of all fire arms and weapons and regulating the sale thereof” enacted by Montana. In 1918. Next to this, the SAFE Act looks pretty tame."
— A history lesson for foes of N.Y. gun law - NY Daily News