Is anti-gun sentiment a new concept?


December 27, 2012, 07:29 PM
I've been wondering whether anti-gun feelings among the public is a new thing historically. I know that the first federal gun law was the NFA. There was also the Sullivan act in New York in 1911. But before that, was there a feeling among the average person that other average people could not be trusted to have firearms?

I assume that guns were more ambiguous in the 1800s. Was there outcry over the speed a lever action could be fired at, or the fact that a repeating rifle or pistol could hold more than one round?

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Al Thompson
December 27, 2012, 07:33 PM
Media driven, IMHO. I'm actually seeing more acceptance now than in years past.

December 27, 2012, 07:34 PM
I doubt if there was any that far back. I'm sure since the first gun was invented there was someone who didn't like it. But until recently most folks had too much work to do just to make a decent living to bother sitting around trying to drum up a perfect society (I'm sure someone will prove me wrong).

When people used to have to work 14 hours a day just to put food on the table they didn't cry about what other people were doing that had nothing to do with them (most people that is).

Now people can make a living just sitting on a computer, and why not stir the pot when you want a challenge?

December 27, 2012, 08:39 PM
Happens in waves. Obviously there was some after the gangster era that led to the NFA in '34. There was some after the Kennedy and King assassinations that led to GCA '68. Firearms were demonized in the 90s due to the insane increase of gang violence in the late 80s and early 90s....leading to the 94 AWB.

We have been riding about a decade's worth of firearms-friendly sentiment in the US up until this year.

December 27, 2012, 08:50 PM
well one thing you have to remember is that really up until the industrial revolution....a firearm was a necessity for survival.

before that, most people lived in the country and often times, if you didnt kill your food, you didnt eat. you also couldnt phone the police if someone was trying to harm you, as there werent police departments in many parts of the country, you were on your own.......its kind of hard to be against one of the main things that keeps you alive.

December 27, 2012, 08:56 PM
If you looked at the history of laws restricting firearms ownership you'd see they go back over a hundred years in this country on the local level.

For much of the 20th century many people didn't own a firearm of any sort and most farmers owned little more than a shotgun or perhaps a shotgun and rifle. Firearms were only restricted on the state or municipal level until the National Firearms Act of 1934, which was the only national legislation until 1968. Subsequently we've had the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990, Brady Handgun of 1998 and the AWB of 1994-2004.

December 27, 2012, 09:52 PM
Now people can make a living just sitting on a computer, and why not stir the pot when you want a challenge?

I spent years and thousands of dollars to get an education in order to work in technology, not to mention the constant effort required to keep up with a quickly advancing field. If only I'd known I only had to sit on the thing instead of understand it...

But I do see your point.

December 27, 2012, 09:56 PM
Yes, from the time of their invention - Kings, royalty, and knights did not like them. Riflemen caught in battle were executed for using the devil's instrument.

December 27, 2012, 10:00 PM
The Baby Boomers and their psycho-babble driven irresponsiblity in the 60's led to more focus on the inanimate object to take blame and responsibility from the individual. This focus has been expanding ever since as our educational system and media sways more and more people to this line of thinking.

December 27, 2012, 10:06 PM
It's kinda funny, the hippies from the 60's who said "don't trust the man, dude!" and "fight the establishment" have become worse than the "man" they said not to trust.

December 27, 2012, 10:11 PM
Yes, from the time of their invention - Kings, royalty, and knights did not like them.

I'm specifically asking about anti-gun feelings among "common people".

December 27, 2012, 10:14 PM
I'm specifically asking about anti-gun feelings among "common people".

Back then the "common people" were told what to think by their king. Oh wait, nothing's changed...

December 27, 2012, 10:22 PM
Most everything in years past were local level things. In 1879 Tennessee passed what is referred to as the "Army and Navy Law". It basically forbade the sale of any handgun except the "Army and Navy" models (Colt and Remingtons).

Since these were expensive to acquire compared to some other types that were more affordable, it served to keep handguns out of the hands of the poor.

December 27, 2012, 10:23 PM
Try the 1950's when most folks were ready to ban handguns

December 27, 2012, 10:29 PM
There is less anti-gun support today than in many times prior. This is media driven support, giving the public the perception that the nation desires restrictions. The media controls a lot of perception, and that causes americans to believe most Americans are feeling one way, even if most feel another.

Anti-gun sentiment though is nothing new, and it predates guns. A large percentage of rulers have always wanted only those men under thier direct control armed with effective arms. It adds job security. If only your soldiers, the king's men, Knights, Samuria, etc have effective arms then you can always control millions of people with only thousands of troops.
If on the other hand everyone has similarly effective arms, it is a lot more challenging, and forcing the population to do things is more difficult.
Bullying a population is hard if they are as well armed as the men at your disposal.
Having a population with effective arms dispersed amongst it decentrilizes power. Disarming the population and only having the 'professionals' armed helps to centralize power with those who control the people with arms.

The exception to that desire has typically been when they feared conquest by a foreign force in the immediate future, at which point they sometimes embraced short term widespread ownership of arms.
In more modern times for example when Britian borrowed lot of firearms to arm the population when the Nazi invasion was a real possibility. Guns they subsequently dumped into the sea when that threat was over.

If you gather the leaders of most of the world and asked them most would support arms restrictions for the populations, which increases the power thier own forces that remain armed wield. That is also why you see such support for reducing Small Arms and Light Weapons in the UN.

The population armed is a desire of the people, not a desire of the government.
If various leaders (and not just the political ones) can convince the people to desire being disarmed themselves, that is the ultimate success. For they know they will always wield armed men, and those armed men can accomplish a lot more with less effort and resources if they are some of the only armed men. They can implement any policy, and enforce any law, edict, etc with or without the support of the people, with minimal risk to themselves and minimal loss of thier own armed men while utilizing far fewer resources.

December 27, 2012, 11:34 PM
The culture I grew up in, the somewhat rural south of the 1970's had a bit of a mixed attitude towards guns, for the most part everyone seemed to have a few, often it was a night stand hand gun of some type, a .22 rifle, some type of multi shot shotgun, and maybe a deer rifle, most of my family were not that into deer hunting so instead they had 2 or 3 shotguns. In general the attitude was guns at home were expected, hand guns in vehicles were a lot less common and generally limited to people that could demonstrate need for a permit to carry them (often people that had to carry large amounts of cash for their business, or maybe women that had to travel along after dark), and carrying concealed for anyone not associated with the fringes of law enforcement was nearly unheard of. The above only applied to handguns, carrying long guns in vehicles was common, even when I went to high school in the early-mid 1980's gun racks with guns were a common sight in the student parking lot. It may seem strange to some people today, but that is the way it was, gun in the glove compartment of a car was generally frowned on, rifle in the back window of a pick up and no one gave it a second thought. From what I hear talking to people older than I am, it was pretty much that same way going back to the 1950's or earlier.

December 27, 2012, 11:34 PM
When I was a kid, almost everyone's dad was a WW2 or Korean War vet, and so were some of the moms. It was OK to go out "hunting" with an air rifle or heaven forbid, bring a rifle in to school to add a little "production value" to an otherwise boring presentation on "the Old West" More than half of my friends were in the scouts, where riflery was a favorite activity at summer camp, and the local prep school let the "townies" use their rifle range one day per week. This was all in an extremely liberal community in Massachusetts. Now, a much smaller "professional army" greatly reduced numbers in the scouts, and of course no guns brought to school. No squirrel hunting in the neighborhood. Textbooks used for history class give a very biased and (in light of Heller) incorrect discussion of 2A. So antigun sentiment is somewhat new. I have heard some excellent defenses of 2A from some youngsters, which gives me hope. (brainwashing works both ways)

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