Summary: An oddity of the New America is how we stumble when dealing with problems solved not just by our peers in other developed nations, but in our past. Gun control is but one example. Other nations, our peers in the developed world, have accomplished what we’re told is impossible for Americans: reducing gun ownership. In our past we were able to regulate guns without cries that we shredded the Constitution (the subject of today’s post). In brief, we see ignorance and amnesia — what conservative leaders consider ideal qualities for citizens.
Sign on Front Street of Dodge City, 1878: “The Carrying of Firearms Strictly Forbidden”
As shown in Myth-busting about gun use in the Wild West, the untamed late 19th century West was relatively peaceful — except for institutional violence (eg, against Indians, small farmers and ranchers, unions). Laws regulating gun possession helped make it so. The people who opened the frontier were not dumb, and didn’t want their streets running with blood. Nor were the citizens of Americans during the following century, in which many areas had strict gun controls.
This history has been erased from the minds of millions through the power of propaganda on a willing audience. It’s become lost history, joining so much of our 19th century in the amnesic clouds of the American mass mind.
But the truth is out there, as in these two excerpts, if only we have the will to grasp it.
(1) “Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today?“, Adam Winkler (Prof Law, UCLA; author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America), Huffington Post, 9 September 2011 — Excerpt:
While people were allowed to have guns at home for self-protection, frontier towns usually barred anyone but law enforcement from carrying guns in public.