The Hunt Bros were on the verge of cornering the silver market and could have if not for the unusual measures taken at the time.
As the Hunts continued to take delivery of silver, it was becomng apparent to the COMEX and CFTC that at some point there would not be enough physical silver available to deliver by those who were short.
So the regulators established position limits in silver on the futures exchange and virtually crashed the paper price by killing the ability of speculators to speculate.
But no such limits for those selling short as I recall.
Had the Hunts not used so much leverage, the story might have ended quite differently.
Bottom line, what the regulators did back then was highly questionable and much like we've seen recently in order to control prices and prevent free markets from testing the abilty to deliver on physical silver.
If I recall, there were 4 increases in margin requirements for silver in the space of something like 2 weeks when silver recently approached 50.