In honor of Independence Day tomorrow, here are a few famous firearms owned by some of our most prominent presidents. We’ll start with George Washington, of course.
Damascus Saddle Pistols, Carried by George Washington
George Washington carried these two pistols throughout his life following the revolutionary war. They were a gift from Gilbert du Motier, a young French soldier who fought on the American side during the Revolution. Incidentally, Motier was also known as the Marquis de Lafayette, and he later authored a highly influential political treatise called “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.”
Spencer Repeating Rifle, Tested and Approved by Abraham Lincoln
On August 18, 1863, Christopher Spencer, the inventor of the world’s first military repeater, walked straight into the White House, past the sentries, and into Abraham Lincoln’s office carrying a rifle and a few cartridge boxes. The two men walked out onto the Mall, near the site of the Washington Monument, and shot at some targets. Following this, the Union ordered a supply of over 13,000 of the rifles, which General Ulysses S. Grant called “the best breech-loading arms available.”
Here’s Lincoln’s target:
.32 Rimfire Smith & Wesson Model 1 ½, carried by Ulysses S. Grant
George Gamble Collection, Autry National Center
This ornate gold inlaid 5-shot revolver was presented to Ulysses S. Grant in 1870 and eventually donated to the National Firearms Museum by the Grant family.
North African Jezail, Owned by Thomas Jefferson
This unusual musket was presented to Thomas Jefferson in 1805 by Sidi Suleiman Melli Melli, an emissary of the Bey of Tunis.
Winchester Model 21 20-Gauge, the Skeet Gun of Dwight Eisenhower
Bob Woodruff, the president of Coca Cola, invited Eisenhower to hunt on his Georgia property on numerous occasions. They became good friends, and Woodruff presented Eisenhower with this one-of-a-kind Winchester as a gift.
FN M1900, Carried by Theodore Roosevelt
This John Browning Model 1900, chambered in .32 ACP, was a striker-fired pistol built for concealed carry, which is exactly the use case for which Teddy Roosevelt applied it. By the way, his niece, FLOTUS Eleanor Roosevelt, also carried – a Smith and Wesson .38.
Like you, all these presidents (and most of the others) proudly exercised their Second Amendment right. May it ever be thus.