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 The civilian disarmament industry would have you believe that the Wild West was all about gun control. That guns were only for militias. That the Founding Fathers would never not let civilians own “weapons of war.” Horseshit, obviously. America was, is and hopefully always be a nation of gunmakers, guns and gun owners. But it’s hard to imagine just how many gunmakers there were back in the day. Click here for a list provided by the Association of Ohio Long Gun Collectors [autoplays damn sad music] or head down to the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta this weekend for their exhibit. As for utility, “They brought whatever they had with them from New England to fight off Indian attacks, bears or somebody’s jealous husband,” joked Warren Offenberger of Reno, a founding member. It stops being funny when it starts being your bear, if you know what I mean.

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  1. It is strange that there is this revisionist movement that says that there were really not many guns in the 19th century West. They base it on false data and photographs from photographers shops if you can believe that. They entirely ignore primary sources who commented, often negatively on the proliferation of guns. No less a person than Rudyard Kipling commented very negatively how men in Montana strolled down the street with a Winchester rifle carrying it as an Englishman carried a walking stick.

    • Well, their motto is “never let facts get in the way of a good agenda.”


  2. There were lots and lots of guns in the Wild West, yet except for Indian attacks, it wasn’t all that wild.

    And don’t be taken in by the BS that towns were gun-free like Tombstone was supposed to be. Strangers and cowboys drifting into town, and other enemies or potential enemies of the town authorities, were often required to check their firearms. The rule did not apply to town residents or to friends of the authorities, who could keep theirs. Just like modern-day New York City or Boston.

    • Where do you get this “information” if you want to call it that? There wasn’t any universal rule as to guns in towns in the 19th century West. Some people carried, some didn’t. Some towns allowed, some didn’t. Sorry, to make such a blanket statement is…well I won’t say it. Try reading some primary sources about the era instead of revisionist history. The complaints about armed people are numerous at the time. In the town of Pioche, NV there were over 70 men killed in gunfights before the first natural death. Pray tell, how were they killed in gunfights if guns were not carried?

      • Did you read Ralph’s post? He allow for variation, and doesn’t state there to be any “universal rule” other than that weren’t any.

        • Yes, I did read it and disagree. Ralph said the Wild West not so wild and I quote “There were lots and lots of guns in the Wild West, yet except for Indian attacks, it wasn’t all that wild.”

          It was indeed wild and lawless. It’s not worth arguing really. If you think that it was peaceful except for Indian attacks I really don’t know what to say except read a bit of history.

        • I’ll grant the “wild” in comparison to many current cities. Notable exceptions being Chicago, LA, DET, DC, North STL, and such.

          That said, he did provide for exceptions. As one whose HS teachers wrote published histories based on “original sources”, I know it wasn’t always tame. We read old newspaper fiches in class.

  3. If you haven’t done so do yourself a huge favor and shoot blackpowder at least once. I’ve done so on a couple of occasions and it is an experience worthy of more adjectives than I can come up with. The hang-time between the hammer fall and the shot on a rifle is a hoot to experience and shoving Crisco into five cylinders of a revolver is just plain weird.

  4. As an Ohioan, I really love the title of this article. I laughed hard enough to gut some Copenhagen. +1 on shooting BP.

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