Included as a fundamental right in the U.S. Constitution, firearms have played a pivotal but controversial role in America's history and culture.
Federal gun regulations, though, were largely nonexistent until fairly recently. And it wasn't until the late 1970s that gun control began to emerge as one of the most explosive, divisive issues in American politics.
Efforts to tighten firearms regulations often resume in the wake of horrific mass shootings, but nearly every recent attempt has been shot down.
Case in point: On June 2016, a lone gunman, wielding a semi-automatic rifle and handgun terrorized a gay night club in Orlando, killing 49 people and wounding scores more. The attack marked the deadliest mass shooting (committed by a single person) in U.S. history.