Back before the big gun blogs existed, back before President Obama was elected, the AP ran a news article that showed how much the culture has been conditioned to fear firearms: “‘I grew up at a time when people were not afraid of people with firearms,’ said (Supreme Court Justice Antonin) Scalia, noting that as a youth in New York City he was part of a rifle team at the military school he attended. ‘I used to travel on the subway from Queens to Manhattan with a rifle,’ he said. ‘Could you imagine doing that today in New York City?'” I have heard other reports of people carrying long guns openly in New York City in the 1950s, with no police being called, no schools locked down, no panic, no problems. Why was this so back then, but not now? . . .
It’s not the crime rate, at least not any more. The Big Apple’s crime rate now, after rising precipitously along with the enactment more and more gun control, has been cut in half as restrictions in the rest of the country on concealed carry have been eliminated and the number of privately-owned guns has doubled. Multitudinous reasons have been speculated about for the drop, but the facts make blaming more guns for more crime more and more difficult. The crime rate now is close to what it was back in the 1950s.
A friend who was a competitive shooter at the time informed me the during the ’50s, university pistol team members kept their guns in their dorm rooms. Even in the 1970’s, I did the same, though I suspect that there were probably rules against it by then. My roommate knew about it, and at least tolerated it, if not approved of it.
Do you have other examples of gun ownership that were seen as normal in urban areas during the 1950’s? Tell us about it in the comments. Let’s document those memories before we lose them.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.