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“This period, before the outbreak of World War I, saw the birth of today’s American gun culture. Within a few decades, as guns became more prominent in criminal activity and suicides, an antigun culture also began to rise. Many Americans recoiled from these new forms of everyday violence, even as others increasingly cherished their firearms and the personal meaning they found in them. The U.S. was on a slow spiral toward the modern, polarized politics of guns.” – Pamela Haag in an excerpt from her book, “The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture” [at wsj.com]

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48 Responses to Blue Force Gear Quote of the Day: The Origins of America’s Gun Culture

  1. I would have thought that America being defined by firearms would have happened long before WW-I. Look at the revolution, look at the Civil War and look at virtually any period in between. The firearm was a tool that allowed this country to expand into what it is today. While there are good and bad sides to this, the idea that this nations formation even before it was a nation wasn’t defined by the gun is absurd.

    • I think she’s saying that that period gave rise to the gun culture in its present day form, not that no gun culture existed prior to that time.

  2. Wow, based on that excerpt, I can only conclude that even the conservative-leaning WSJ doesn’t get it. They sent “missionairies” around the country? Or, perhaps “salesmen?”

    What dribble.

    • FORMER WSJ subscriber. The WSJ (and more particularly Wall Street) is not Conservative. The WSJ is nothing more than a less slick USA Today. A once great newspaper gone full libtard since Murdoch bought it. Corp America is no longer Conservative. Largely owned by the dem party. Wall Street is owned by Clinton Inc

  3. And after the outbreak of WW1, it could be argued that the American gun culture has saved the world, TWICE. Yet we still have to listen to girly-men like this loser.

  4. Laughing at the term “gun missionaries.” You don’t call the guy selling you a chevy a “car missionary”. They were salesman, doing what salesman do- Trying to make sales. The comments seem to back us up, thankfully.

    • Taking this further, are those who sell VCRs, DVD players and internet service “porn missionaries”?

      Anti-gun cultism exists solely on the basis of ignorance and the malicious exploitation of it.

    • Actually, the title “Evangelist” is quite common in the tech industry. I know a few Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure Evangelists at Microsoft. Other companies use the title as well. Brand Evangelists are, in fact, a thing. And fundamentally, an evangelist and a missionary are the same thing.

      You might not meet a car missionary, but a “car brand evangelist” who’s trying to sell you on the car model without actually trying to sell you the actual model directly is not out of the realm of possibilities.

  5. I believe TTAG had links to an article several weeks ago ( too lazy to look though) that was similar to this one. It focused on Colt and Whitney but was essentially the same: the early gun company owners were losers in other ventures and happened to decide to go to gun manufacturing and then hood-winked the American public. I don’t know about y’all but these articles almost seem to have an underlying tone to them. Trying to portray Colts and Winchesters and Remington’s as nefarious robber barons; evil capitalists that planted a seed that turned our otherwise peaceful country into hellhole by brainwashing us idiots. Maybe it’s just me though.

    The missionary thing is pretty funny. I ran into a DirectTV missionary at Wal-Mart last week, and some lotion company missionary at Sam’s the week before that. They (like the man hyping up folks for Winchester back in the day) are called hawkers…drumming up excitement about a product (aka Salesman).

  6. I could have sworn the American ‘gun culture’ began at Lexington and Concord. What started in the early 20th century was the Progressive movement, which included such concepts as gun control. You also see the beginning of the prohibition of drugs and even alcohol and the institution of income tax around that time. People began thinking that they could force people to be better citizens by force of law, with predictable results. The gun culture was and is a repudiation of that concept.

  7. “This period, before the outbreak of World War I, saw the birth of today’s American gun culture. Within a few decades, as guns became more prominent in criminal activity and suicides, an antigun culture also began to rise.”

    Did crime become more prominent, or did information in regards to crime spread faster and further than ever before? You know, that whole telegraph, telephone, radio, electricity, automobile, etc. stuff, which flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century…

    Oh, and there have always been anti’s. As long as there has been a State and weapons, there have been people who only want the State to have the weapons.

    Saying anti’s are a modern concept is like saying a$$holes are a modern concept – spoiler alert – they’re not.

  8. “Gun missionaries ”
    Now I’m picturing a pair of young men in white shirts, black ties, and carrying 1911s standing on my porch.
    “Good morning sir, can you spare a minute to talk about our Lord and savior, John Moses Browning? “

    • Instead of a leather-bound bible, the missionary holds a finely crafted American walnut case with a soft felt-lined interior. An ornately presented 1911A1 plus three loaded mags, cleaning kit, and folded oiling cloth are in need of a new home, courtesy of the Church of JMB and completely free of charge. That imagery is just too damn cool.

  9. “as guns became more prominent in criminal activity”

    WTF? Guns have been prominent in Criminal activity for as long as there’s been both a)Criminals. b) guns.

  10. I think this goes to show that the anti-gun movement doesn’t just wish to brainwash our country into accepting gun control; they want to manipulate the context of our heritage to portray themselves as righteous, virtuous, superior…

    • If you think historical revisionism and retroactive morality are unique to the gun control movement, spend some time on a campus of “higher education” anywhere in America today. It’s a guaranteed dose of instant depression

  11. I love how they avoid making the connection between the beginning of mass marketing of guns and the beginning of the mass marketing of everything else between the Civil War and WWI.

  12. “This period, before the outbreak of World War I, saw the birth of today’s American gun culture.”

    Because everyone knows the Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest knife fight in American history, and all those settlers out west were perfectly content shooing danger away with rocks and sharp sticks. Good grief.

  13. Funny here I thought the rise of criminal violence escalated thanks to another well thought out action by the government, i.e. prohibition.

  14. Life is good when you can rewrite history any way that you want to.

    I’m going to rewrite the slavery part and have African families lining up for a voluntarily voyage to America because they wanted to take part in the American dream.

    Or maybe I’ll decide that Poland attacked Germany in 1939.

    And didn’t France buy the Louisiana Territory from that Jefferson guy?

  15. For all the folks laughing at calling someone a gun missionary, it’s not far fetched. The title “Evangelist” is quite common in the tech industry. I know a few Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure Evangelists at Microsoft. Other companies use the title as well. Brand Evangelists are, in fact, a thing. And fundamentally, an evangelist and a missionary are the same thing.

  16. I do not understand, ” guns are tools”? Well kinda, pistol butts could be used for a hammer and I guess a rifle barrel could be a pry bar or drift pin. But tools? Or it could be a tool to strip ammendments? Oh, a tool for killing,.Quote from an 1800s settler,” back in them days, we was more interrsted in postholes then pistols,” Contrary to popular belief, everyone wasnt packing. Most cowboys didnt carry pistols, a months wages to by a Colt was on their short list.

  17. I call more anti-gun “it’s the big bad gun makers fault” bullshit on Ms.Haag.

    For the truth, buy and read Clayton Cramer’s “Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie” (Published January 2007 by Nelson Current, ISBN: 1-595-55069-0)
    This book examines the development of a distinctively American gun culture from the Founding to 1840, with its implications for the concept of citizenship based on the duty to militia service. It also demonstrates that the widely publicized and accepted claims of now former Professor Michael Bellesiles of Emory University were not simply wrong, but intentional fraud.

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