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John Glenn on Gun Control Legislation (1968)

KPRC-TV

Sound | 1968

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  •  John Glenn talks about the importance of proposed federal legislation. Congress ultimately passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 to ban the mail-order sale of handguns, rifles, and shotguns as well as prohibit certain felons, drug users, and those found mentally incompetent from buying guns. 
  •  The shooting occurred exactly three weeks after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy 
 
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In this news segment for Houston’s KPRC-TV, newsman Ray Miller asks NASA astronaut John Glenn about his support of proposed gun control legislation. Broadcast on June 27, 1968, the interview came one day after the fatal shooting of a Houston police officer, which Miller references. The Associated Press reports that on June 26, Roderick Isaacks shot Officer Ben Gerhart to death after the officer stopped Isaacks’ car at a West Loop overpass in northwest Houston. A police chase ensued, ending when Isaacks’ car crashed into another vehicle. To avoid the collision, Officer Bobby James swerved his patrol car into a culvert, fatally injuring himself. Isaacks jumped from the wreckage and ran into a field. He was killed in the subsequent gun battle with police. The event came just three weeks after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, further intensifying the national debate surrounding gun control legislation.
Newsman Ray Miller (1919 - 2008) began his broadcasting career in 1938 in his home town of Fort Worth. He relocated to Houston soon thereafter, where he joined KPRC Radio. When KPRC purchased Houston’s first television station in 1951, Miller adopted the burgeoning medium, eventually winning a Peabody Award. In 1969, Miller created The Eyes of Texas, a regional television series examining all things Texas. On the air for 30 years, the series became Houston’s longest-running local television program. Miller retired in 1979, serving as news director at both KPRC Radio and KPRC-TV for over 40 years. During his decades-long tenure at KPRC, Miller mentored a number of journalists, including Dan Rather and former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. 
 
After retiring from television production, Miller became a local historian, writing several books and travel guides about historic attractions in Houston and Galveston. He also worked with the Harris County Historical Commission to secure markers for numerous sites.