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RE: [Rollei] OT: Emerson (2nd Amendment) decision
- Subject: RE: [Rollei] OT: Emerson (2nd Amendment) decision
- From: "Thomas A. Frank" <taf >
- Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 09:22:22 -0500
- References: <3BDDF46D.E6DE3067 >
> >I was looking though an 1890's Sear & Roebuck catalog and there are all of
> >these ads for Winchesters and Marlins, etc - all about $15 - $20. It was a
> >very natural thing - like buying a hoe or churn. Just about every household
> >owned a firearm at the turn of the century.
>I suspect this is a misconception. I doubt if 35% of the homes at the turn
>of the century included a firearm of any sort. Remember: cities were then
>in existence! Think of all those immigrants in Boston, Baltimore,
>Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York ...
>Now, in 1800, most American homes probably did include a firearm.
This issue has been studied pretty thoroughly, and as I recall the
findings were that in the 1700's virtually every household had a
firearm; in the 1800's virtually every household still had a firearm,
with those in the major metropolitan areas being the ones which did
not; and over the course of the 1900's the percentage of households
with firearms dropped to around the (current) 40-50% range, due in
large part to the increasing density of our cities.
Most of the big gun makers (Colt and S+W, for example), have complete
records going back to day one. For a modest fee, you can send them
the serial number of your gun and they will tell you who bought it
(person, store, whatever). If you get lucky and have one that was
made special for someone, they will provide copies of the letters.
So yes, there are very detailed records.
If you simply divide production by population, one would expect that
every person in the US has at least one gun...although in reality
owners tend to have a few, to compensate for those who have none.
You might recall a great deal of fanfare in the media about a new
book called "Arming America" by Michael Bellesiles that received such
great reviews when the book came out. The author claims in essence
that in reality no one in the US ever actually owned a gun, and the
whole gun culture is a Hollywood myth. Unfortunately for Mr.
Bellesiles, once folks began researching the background information
he claims to have used, it was found that his book is a work of
fiction, not fact. But you won't read any of that in the reviews.
If anyone is actually interested, I can offer some references to read
up on the subject.