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RE: [Rollei] OT: Emerson (2nd Amendment) decision

> >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.

Tom Frank