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From the halls of democracy dying in darkness comes a quote that reminds us all how guns aren’t (and have never been) the problem. Our culture is. The guns haven’t changed, we have . . .

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin (and many other older county residents I talked with) remembers bringing his gun to school, putting it in his locker and hunting rabbits after classes. Brian Hanson, retired superintendent of the Mancos School District, recalled that when he was a teacher, he once bought a gun from a student after math class.

— Maddy Butcher in What City Dwellers Don’t Get About Gun Ownership in the Rural West


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  1. I walked into a hardware store in Bald Knob Arkansas in 1964 and walked out with a single shot Stevens 22 and a brick of long rifle. I was 12 years old. The only background check I had was the store owner called my dad and asked if it was OK. Dad said it’s his money – he earned it.

    • In the early 1970s, I remember the local independent mom-n-pop corner store had .22 lr on the counter next to the register, a box of 50 for a quarter. That’s right, one-half of one penny a round.

      We’ll never see that again…. 🙁

      • remember how impressed we were with that “range one mile” inscription on the box?….[of course at one mile it would probably bounce off you!]

    • My purchase was a 7×57 surplus mauser carbine bought at my local Western Auto ca 1965. I spent money saved from my summer job. The $35 purchase included a couple of boxes of hard ball. No parental permission required. I was 16YO. Carried the rifle to the school parking lot later that week to show friends. Shooting my schoolmates (or anyone for that matter) NEVER entered my mind.

    • the first gun I ever bought with my own money was a semi-auto .22, from a hardware store. Worked my summer vacation from school doing yard work and various tasks for people around their homes and businesses to get the money. Since I was under age 14 I needed parents permission to purchase which they gave. I was the first kid in my area to have a semi-auto .22, the other kids still had manual bolt operated and they envied me greatly but I let them try it out.

      The rifle came with a box of ammo the hardware store threw in. one of the conditions that came with our. 22’s, responsibility to get our own ammo. We weren’t old enough to get real jobs, because of state child labor laws we could not start working at a real job until we were 14 and then it could only be no more than seven hours a week until we turned 16. so most of us would do yard work or other tasks for people to buy ammo, but we would share what we had with the other kids too that didn’t have any. But actually we kids never really wanted for ammo for our. 22’s even when we didn’t have the money for it ourselves because it was a normal thing for a sheriff patrol to cruise by sometimes and give us boxes of .22 they got for free for the .22’s they used sometimes for vicious animal control.

    • Just a few years after your purchase I was buying .410 shells at Hankins store in Oil Trough. I was 8. I expect he ran the same background check on me except it would have been with my grandma.

  2. A quick google search says there were more guns per household in the 60’s than there are today.
    Pretty much tells the tale – it’s the culture not the gun.

    • Kenny was 8 years old when his family moved from New York City to some wooded acreage in Arkasas. All the locals had guns, which fascinated Kenny. His parents, however, told his to stay clear of those gun people because guns were dangerous. Kenny argued that all those people had guns, his new friends from school could shoot and why did they live there if they were not going to be friends with everyone. Besides, no one was getting killed. This was in 1965. Despite Kenny’s prodigal arguments, his parents would not relent.

      Kenny’s Mom was a stay-at-home Mom. So were all the neighboring Moms. They made sure to visit, point out the best places to shop, and share produce from their gardens, and invite the Kenny’s family to church services.

      And they talked about hunting and local shooting competitions. It took a few months, but Kenny’s Mom spent a Monday afternoon at the range with some of the other Moms.

      That was it.

      That evening, she told her husband she was going to the gun store with some of the women. Kenny’s Dad said “Absolutely not”.

      That Thursday, Kenny’s Mom bought a 22 calber long gun. Once she got comfortable with it she took Kenny shooting. When his Dad found out, he knew all was lost. So, he got with the neighbors, purchased a long gun, and learned how to shoot He was never that good at it, but he, his wife, and Kenny all joined a gun club.

      Education trumps prejudice. Experience becomes capability. Practice erodes fear. Community builds strength.

      • Just like training with the volunteer fire dept. If you can’t handle the work, learn the radio, the local maps, where to put a shed with some equipment, first aid, etc.
        Being able to shoot a gun, could save your or your neighbors’ lives.
        Living in outlying areas and knowing the area well is very important.

    • I do not think that Google search is correct. Those gunms of the 60’s if not destroyed only add to the gunms being made and purchased today. Therefore households have more gunms now then then.

      • I think the point being made, possum, whether true and verifiable or not, is that growth of the population of people, households specifically, has outpaced growth of the population of firearms.

        I’m not sure I believe that, but a reliable statistic of per-capita gun rates between 1960 and today certainly would be interesting.

      • I read something a few years ago that said fewer households (per capita) now have guns, but the households that have them, have more of them.

        • How can you rely on any survey of gun ownership when the vast majority of gun owners now days would hang up on whoever was asking the question.

    • a hell of a lot more pistols around now than there were in the past…”black guns” [semi-auto pistols, defense shotguns and semi-auto rifles]now dominate the inventory of gun shops. and gun shows…and their purpose is singular [self-defense] indicating a high degree of paranoia..often in place out there…hunting is in decline and beautiful sporting weapons increasingly scarce…back in the day a kid coveted a Weatherby…now it’s an AR-15

  3. It was no big deal when my dad took my brother’s & me shooting. He had an NRA sticker on the front door. He was part of the rifle team way back in the 1920’s at Kankakee,Ill High School.(He graduated HS with future Dem governor Sam Shapiro). Yeah he walked to school with this rifle. Back when most Dims weren’t ANTI-2A. Oh well. I’m not wistful for those halcyon daze of yore🙄😧

  4. When growing up my grade school (Harborview school, Juneau, AK.) had a Gun range in the basement and parents could sign children up for firearm safety and marksmanship classes. We used school supplied Anschutz single shot 22 lr rifles with peep sights. In high school I remember having a locker in the school office where we kept our shotguns. After school we retrieved them and hunted ducks on the many ponds on the walk home. No one tried shooting anyone and never a threat to anyone. The problem now has nothing to do with firearms. It has to do with a culture that does not value life and lack of responsibility of parents. It is really that simple.

    • one our scoutmasters…[big time hunter] used to take us out and let us shoot some of his guns..we all had bb guns..kid’s dad down the street had a jap rifle that we used to play with..[still remember that flower on the receiver]…shotguns and .22’s were pretty common but pistols less so although my old man always had one [union activist…lots of “war stories”]…we used to shoot it using those big olive oil cans for targets…guns pretty common in the country but practically non-existent in the city and I got to experience both lifestyles…..

  5. ” If we’re talking about bans, maybe we should ban every young man who lives within a 30-mile radius of a city center from buying a gun. ”

    Except that the young men who are a problem don’t obey the law, so your ban will only affect the one’s who would not misuse a gun anyway. Doubt me? How are those marijuana prohibitions doing? How are the meth and heroin and fentanyl prohibitions doing? How are the laws against murder, rape, car jacking, and robbery doing? Have all of those things stopped since laws were passed banning them?

    All gun laws are communism and all supporters of gun laws are communists. The only good commie is a dead commie.

  6. quote——–The guns haven’t changed, we have . . .———quote

    The break down in family life (high divorce rate) that came about when all the high paying jobs went overseas produced since then 4 generations of people who never had a decent paying job. Today both parents and children often end up on drugs because they have no hope for the future.

    • dacian the DUNDERHEAD, You can think your brother and sister Leftists who established the “no fault divorce” system. It had/has not a damn thing to do with “high paying jobs going overseas.” Actually, Leftie, most parents are hardworking to support their families and not at all involved in drugs.
      If anyone has no hope in the future it is because they have no personal initiative. Something you Leftists want to discourage.

      • yeah,..divorce was once something you were ashamed off…it implied weakness and failure…

    • today both parents and children often end up on drugs.
      Guess that explains what happened to you
      Do you know who your dad is ?

    • Now he’s an an enonomist, too. As well as a social engineer. Well, I guess stupidity and ignorance know von bounds.

    • dacian, thanks for giving us a synopsis of your family, it explains a lot about you. Your mom on drugs while pregnant with you is probably the reason you are a moron.

    • Also, it seem Dacian brother and sisters, Marxist/Communist/S O C I A L I S T in Italy are loosing their ANTI-GUN argument!!!

    • “Today both parents and children often end up on drugs because they have no hope for the future.”

      Only the foolish like yourself choose “recreational drugs” for their future.

  7. Well, ok but WaPo doesn’t get it.

    We are NOT a Democracy.

    Our culture has NOT changed all that much. What they see is the result of communists taking over the Democrat party. It further gets blurred by other cultures forcing their way in across an open southern border with no desire for assimilation. The American way of life is becoming such a small and overwhelmed aspect that it appears this way. But OUR culture is and always has been a threat to communism. That’s why so many of the Washington left see MAGA the way they do. Democrats have so twisted this entire thing that they see Trump as aligned with Russia when in reality it’s THEM. Many on the left can’t admit that to themselves. Our media facilitates this propagating their delusions.

      • That’s part of what I mean. There is no desire to preserve the miracle that is the USA. Even from it’s very inception, there have been enemies. We cannot be beat militarily. That has been proven. But the American culture has become diluted to the point of being relegated to minority status. Americans being foreigners in their own land. It’s how the country gets takin from us.

        • Stomping on and burning the American flag is seen as exercising your right to free speech. Stomping on and burning the rainbow Progressive battle flag is seen as hate speech.

          They need people to hate America in order to support their takeover.

        • “we cannot be beat militarily”….really?…our track record hasn’t been all that great of late….

    • sitting here looking at my John Wayne mug…the inscription on it reads “What the hell do you mean press one for English”

      • posted on WaPo for years…[until they finally kicked me off!]….they tend to view gun owners as something akin to an alien species…they’re totally clueless bubble-dwellers…

  8. As of 2018, 183.4 million people – more than half of the total U.S. population – lived in the 52 largest metropolitan areas. The large metros range in population from the New York metro area (20.0 million as of 2018) to Grand Rapids, Michigan (1.1 million).

  9. “he once bought a gun from a student after math class.”

    These days, one would buy meth from a student after anti-gun class.

    • What WaPo isn’t quite understanding is that the reason why that is the case is because the left actively pushes away from Christian ethics and for legalized drugs.

        • actually used to bring guns into school…usually flintlock or percussion as part of my history lesson…those days are over..did get a little heat about my 1860 Colt though…..

        • Tired, there is no class called “airgun 101” that I know of and no, I’ve never had a “meth problem”, other than arresting those who manufactured it.

  10. A parent of a seventh grader who took a gun to Central Middle School will be charged, Quincy police said Thursday.

    Quincy police Capt. Daniel Guarente said the parent will be charged with reckless behavior causing a risk to a child and improperly securing a firearm.

      • Does the 4337 form spell out what being a user of drugs really means? Does it mean more than once in a certain amount of time? Does it mean ever use illegal drugs? Does it mean drugs that are illegal for anyone? or just those that are illegal without a prescription? Does it mean illegal, since you may have had a prescription once, you do not have one now? How about left over meds that haven’t been used for a while?
        This is just a catch 22

        • I think anyone who wants to purchase a gunm should be drug tested 30minutes before the purchase and once a month after the purchase.
          Also anyone who has a concealed weapon permit should be reported to local authorities if they are seen in a bar , liquor store or purchasing beer from the convenience stores.
          Freedom is earned not given.

        • rt66paul, No, it is not spelt out but it is understood (common sense) that anyone who is abusing a controlled substance of any kind is banned from purchasing a firearm.

      • people carry guns as part of their daily kit these days…so much so it becomes automatic and they tend to forget it’s there…see that all the time at airports

  11. Stories like this bring out the two-tier tyrants for who it’s an acceptable compromise to have complete bans in urban areas but ONLY ban the evil black rifles for rural areas.

    Fudds, racists and the “ban everything” crowd just grabbing for what they think they can get.

    • never a bad idea to have one of those “black rifles” stashed away some place…no matter where you live..most effective protective device available to the general public…..

  12. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3 into law mandating all public schools to have at least one armed security officer or armed school personnel at each public school campus statewide.

    This new law would allot $330 million to build security centers on campuses. Legislators in Austin claim this new law will strengthen the state’s School Safety Center, responsible for disseminating safety information to all schools. The law will also mandate annual audits of school protocol and require staff members to get mental health training.

    • Bravo. To those who disagree with this because it is “dangerous”, I ask them then why don’t their politicians who think the same demand that there is no armed security for them including building they go into?

    • This is a good idea. I just think it would have been more profitable to nullify the gun free school zone laws. But putting armed officers on campuses only work if they are actually willing to do their jobs. Otherwise it’s all just a waste of money.

    • ….and what would it cost to arm teachers?…a lot less i’m thinking….Texas LE does not inspire a lot of confidence….

  13. I cant remember the first gunm I bought however I do remember throwing it in the pond to see if it was Smart enuff to swim

    • … ironically, the SmartGun is the only one most deserving of being thrown into a pond.

  14. Two years ago one of the local elementary schools set up ‘Trunk or Treat’, like they do every year. But this time they added a couple of games booths aside from the various small games they usually had for kids. One was a ring toss booth, the other was a nerf gun shooting booth where a kid could shoot at and win a plushie they could knock over with a nerf shot. Me and a neighbor set up the nerf booth and supplied everything including the plushies, my neighbor had kids in that school and enlisted my help as I had a friend that could get the plushies so I pitched in.

    Everything was free. They did a good job with the event, it was a lot of fun for the kids until…one parent decided it was not proper for the school to ‘indoctrinate’ (her word) kids into the ways to use ‘weapons of war’ (her words). They were new in the area, her husband had been transferred by his company in New York to their office here to manage the office.

    So of course, she made sure everyone heard her as she complained loudly to the school principal who was decked out in her witch costume.

    The principal listened patiently but eventually had enough of this hysterical woman and it was upsetting some of the kids so told her to quiet down before she turned her into a toad.

    The woman went ballistic with that and called the cops complaining loudly over the phone that 6 year olds were being given ‘assault weapons’ (her words) by the school. The cops showed up, and after some back and forth one of them walked over to our nerf booth, picked up a nerf gun, fired away at a plushie and won his prize. Told her there were no ‘assault weapons’ being given to 6 year olds that he could find, just a bunch of kids having fun and getting free stuff. She grabbed her kids and stomped away to her car.

    Yeah, there’s a lot about guns that big city folks don’t understand some times.

      • You have no idea how true that is, Marsupial One.

        Those same kids now watching Hollywood movies where the hero uses guns to right wrongs and get the girl.

        Every psychotic ‘Mommie Dearest’ wanna-be is programming their kids to want a gun when they get old enough to escape her demented clutches… 🙂

    • 40, follow the link to the full WaPo article, then scroll all the way down to the comments. Looks like the karens and fudds came out in droves just to display their ignorance, just like that woman in your story. A parade of groomers…gag a maggot.

      • well,..I did my best to set them right…probably why i’m not there anymore…contradicting their pre-set narratives tends to tick them off

      • Yeah, I read those comments.

        You see the first one from that creature named ‘B Crawford’ …. he provides a link to a 2018 Bloomberg article that claims smaller population areas see very similar numbers of mass shootings as larger pop areas..

        The idiot doesn’t know the data in the underlying ‘study’ that 2018 Bloomberg thing is using was fabricated.

        These idiots will believe anything the anti-gun industry will throw out there. Its emotion based junk. If they can keep you believing the ’emotion’ and satisfy your conformation bias to feed that emotion they can keep you uninformed and put a blatant lie right in front of you and you will believe it, like ‘B Crawford’.

  15. A teenaged Antonin Scalia used to take his rifle with him to school on the subway from Queens to Manhattan in the early ’50s. It wasn’t always like this in the city.

    • Yep, Ralph came from the same environ and told similar tales.

      I can’t wait for the lawsuit to force high schools to offer NCAA rifle teams in the schools… 🙂

  16. Back in the dark ages when I was in school, if anyone bothered to check they would have found enough firearms in the student parking lot to outfit a company of Marines.
    Strange thing is while we had our fair share of fights and issues, no one ever decided shooting the guy who just beat your ass in a fight, or talked trash about your girlfriend would be a good idea. I’m sure a few thought about it. But decided spending the rest of their lives in a cell with big Bubba was not something to aspire too.
    Imagine the screams today if the local DNR/Game Warden loaded a bunch of 10 year olds onto a bus with their own 22 rifles and carted them off to the rifle range either after school or on a Friday afternoon for the shooting portion of the gun safety/hunter safety class.
    But, that was done back then. We also had regular rifle competitions and later some got involved with the skeet team.
    Bought my first .22 at age 10 of course Dad was standing right there while I counted out the $35.00 for the rifle and another 10 for the case. Baled a lot of hay and picked a lot of rocks to earn that money.
    Bought my first center fire rifle at the same hardware store when I turned 16. A used M1894 Winchester. Shot my second deer with that rifle. First one was taken with Dad’s Mauser.
    Of course us rural kids learned to respect the power of a firearm and understood they were both never to be considered toys and were to be used as the tools they are. Dangerous? sure. So is a circular saw or chain saw.
    Our culture, out here in flyover country has not changed much. A few bad influences like meth have crept out of the cities. But by and large, most surviving small towns and farming communities are little different than they were 50 years ago.
    What has changed is the Marxist influence of the Progressive politicians in most of the bigger cities. And the break down of morals and traditional values and ethics of those who dwell there. “Can’t be no rat in the hood.” and “don’t get involved.” Not only allow bad behaviors to continue, but give tacit approval for such.

    • lots of guys hunted with “German 8mm’s” back in the day….Winchester ’94’s were popular because they were cheap…”brush guns” remember?…serious deer hunting usually involved a trip to the mountains…now you can shoot them off your back porch…or just use your car

  17. Ever want to see Gun Controller’s REAL thoughts..? …had a mole inside their conference…

  18. ATF Raid aftermath: 60 machine gun converters, illegal firearms put gun controllers in a sticky spot.

  19. *HOLY HELL!! IM PISSED!! Candace Owens Tells Black America White People ARE NOT Holding You Back.

    • they’re a legend in their own minds…still living off their watergate moment…..

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