CBS Archive Reveals RFK, Making 1968 Gun Control Speech—in Roseburg, Ore.

By Mark Joyella 

Just weeks before his assassination, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy made a speech on his crime bill, which included provisions to tighten control over certain kinds of gun sales—including mail order sales to people with criminal records or the very young. “A person who’s four years old can go buy a rifle now,” Kennedy said in comments made on the steps of the Douglas County Courthouse in Roseburg, Ore.

Roseburg, of course, has reignited the debate over gun control after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College by a gunman who had obtained 14 weapons—all legally purchased.

At the time of Kennedy’s speech in Roseburg, protesters carried picket signs and heckled. The Oregonian, noting that Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy, had been killed by a man who purchased his rifle by mail order, said RFK hoped to stem the rise in gun crimes. “With all the violence and murder and killings we’ve had in the United States, I think you will agree that we must keep firearms from people who have no business with guns or rifles,” he said.


Just eight days later, Kennedy was shot and killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

CBSN featured the video in its segment, “The Vault,” which revisits historic stories covered by CBS News: